Small business owners affected by March 3 tornadoes can still apply for assistance

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved 35 disaster loans totaling $1,649,200 to Alabama residents with losses resulting from severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on March 3.
The SBA is encouraging businesses of all sizes, nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for disaster assistance for their physical losses before the May 6 deadline.
There are three ways to apply:
• visit the Disaster Loan Outreach Center. SBA representatives at the center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and help businesses in completing the SBA application
• apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov
• request a paper loan application by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.
SBA’s disaster loans for physical losses provide funds to repair and replace structures, machinery, equipment, inventory, household goods, vehicles and cover debris removal and landscaping costs and even insurance deductibles. These loans have interest rates as low as: 4 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.
Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.
The disaster declaration covers Lee County, which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Chambers, Macon, Russell and Tallapoosa in Alabama and Harris and Muscogee in Georgia.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
Additional details on the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
For more information about SBA recovery assistance, visit www.sba.gov.

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