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7 S.C. counties eligible for disaster loans

Staff Report
Published Jan. 17, 2013

Seven S.C. counties along the Georgia border are eligible for federal small-business disaster loans as the result of a drought beginning Dec. 15.

The eligible counties are Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale, Anderson, Barnwell, Edgefield and McCormick, the U.S. Small Business Administration said. The loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations located in those counties.

"These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Georgia,” said Frank Skaggs, director of the agency’s field operations center. “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."

With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, the SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.875% for private nonprofit organizations of all sizes and 4% 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.

Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are 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 via the SBA's website. Businesses also can mail completed forms to the agency. The deadline to apply is Sept. 9.