Affected by Irma? Help is available

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In response to a request for a disaster declaration from SC Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon has made low-interest disaster loans available to South Carolina business owners and residents affected by Hurricane Irma. 

The declaration includes Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton and Hampton counties.

“I’m grateful that Administrator McMahon has decided to grant my request for a disaster declaration and give South Carolinians the resources they need to make themselves whole again after Hurricane Irma’s impact on the state,” said McMaster.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of South Carolina with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said McMahon. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

SBA’s customer service representatives will be available at Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

A center will be open in Beaufort County at Burton Wells Park, 1 Middleton Recreation Drive in Beaufort. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, and Friday, Oct. 13; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16.

“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets,” said SBA’s South Carolina Acting District Director R. Gregg White.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. 

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

Businesses and individuals can also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or by emailing 

Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to the centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Monday, Dec. 4. The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 5, 2018.