UNITED STATES

Disaster loans now available for small businesses

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The U.S. Small Business Administration is accepting applications for loans for economic injury disaster with interest loans capping at 3.75 percent. Nonprofits are capped at 2.75 percent.

“The SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan program provides low interest disaster loans to small businesses and nonprofit organizations,” said Debra Freeland, a public affairs specialist at SBA. “These loans are used to pay fixed debts, payroll, account[s] payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the coronavirus not occurred.”

Although the fund allows up to $2 million for a loan to a small business, the amount granted is based on a given entity’s financial loss, Freeland said. Moreover, it is a case-by-case basis.

“SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are Working Capital Loans, and these loans help them continue to pay their ongoing monthly expenses,” Freeland said.

In regard to how long it would take to receive a loan, Freeland expressed that SBA is processing incoming applications as quickly as possible.

“Some are even processed as fast as within a few days,” she said. “The first disbursement is generally made within three to five days after receiving the signed loan closing documents.”

Small businesses in New York became eligible for economic injury disaster loans through SBA on March 19. Additionally, the declaration for the loan indicates that the funds are tappable through Dec. 21, 2020, which was stressed by Delvonnie Burgess, another public affairs specialist for SBA.

Burgess also emphasized that SBA’s definition of a small business is in reference to North American Industry Classification system. Upon asking about what might disqualify a small business from receiving a loan, Freeland said eligibility cannot be determined until an application has been submitted, further stressing the necessity for all small businesses to apply.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s cus- tomer service center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disas- ter assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired may call (800)-877- 8339. Completed applications should be mailed to SBA’s processing and dis- bursement center in Fort Worth, Texas.

SBA did not relay how many small businesses have thus far applied, but again, stressed that all small businesses are encouraged to submit applications.

“This is something new that has never happened in our country before,” Burgess said. “Things are still slowly trying to get a handle of this horrific disaster in our country. We are trying to address every need as far as the economy is concerned because we do understand that small businesses are the driving force of the economy here in the U.S.”

Calls and applications from small businesses in states east of the Mississippi River — as well as two territories and Washington, D.C. — are processed at Disaster Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

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