Disaster Assistance Available for Small Businesses

Sep 14, 2011, 19:54 ET from U.S. Small Business Administration

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Small, nonfarm businesses in all 75 Arkansas counties, neighboring parishes in Louisiana and neighboring counties in Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, are now eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  "These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the combined effects of hail, high winds, flooding, widespread drought and excessive heat that occurred in all 75 Arkansas counties beginning April 1, 2011," announced Alfred E. Judd, Director of SBA's Disaster Field Operations Center  West.  In addition to the state of Arkansas, the following neighboring parishes and counties are also eligible:

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Neighboring Louisiana parishes:  Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, East Carroll, Morehouse, Union, Webster and West Carroll;
Neighboring Mississippi counties:  Bolivar, Coahoma, De Soto, Issaquena, Tunica and Washington;
Neighboring Missouri counties:  Barry, Butler, Dunklin, Howell, McDonald, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Ripley, Stone and Taney;
Neighboring Oklahoma counties:  Adair, Delaware, Le Flore, McCurtain and Sequoyah;
Neighboring Tennessee counties: Dyer, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton;
Neighboring Texas counties:  Bowie and Cass.

"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 Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster 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 at the request of Governor Mike Beebe.

Businesses 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 (USDA) 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 Application (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 Web site 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 May 7, 2012.

For more information, visit SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov.

SBA Field Operations Center - West, P.O. Box 419004, Sacramento, CA 95841

Media Contact:  Richard Jenkins
Phone:  (916) 735-1500

SOURCE U.S. Small Business Administration