Disaster assistance available for small businesses
Small, nonfarm businesses in all 254 Texas counties and neighboring counties and parishes in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “These loans offset economic losses because of the drought that began January 1, 2012 in 252 primary Texas counties,” announced Alfred E. Judd, Director of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West.
Primary Texas counties: All Texas counties except Rockwall and Wise; Neighboring Texas counties: Rockwall and Wise; Neighboring Arkansas counties: Little River and Miller; Neighboring Lousiana parishes: Beauregard, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, De Soto, Sabine and Vernon; Neighboring New Mexico counties: Curry, Donna Ana, Eddy, Lea, Otero, Quay, Roosevelt and Union; Neighboring Oklahoma counties: Veaver, Beckham, Bryan, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cotton, Ellis, Harmon, Jackson, Jefferson, Love, Marshall, McCurtain, Roger Mills, Texas and Tillman.
“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Judd said.
Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Diaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the diaster not occurred.
Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4% for businesses and 3% for private, nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private, nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Judd said.
By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster on July 12, 2012.
Business primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Service Agency (FSA) about the U.S. Department of Agriculture (SDA) assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, in drought disasters nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Applicaton (ELA) via SBA’s secure web site at https://disasterloan. sba.gov/ela.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at 800- 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@ sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 800-877-8339.
The deadline to apply for these loans is March 12, 2013.