By Press Gazette Contributor

MILTON — Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties as a result of the May 1 to June 30 rainfall, wind and flooding.

“These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Alabama,” Frank Skaggs said, director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. “The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included.”

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 3.215 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. The SBA sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition.

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 loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available by calling the SBA’s 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.

Download loan applications from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Mail completed applications to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Return completed loan applications to SBA no later than April 16.