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WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) encouraged Delaware small businesses to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA announced this week that federal loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in New Castle County as a result of excessive rain, heat, flooding, high winds, and hail that began in May 2011.

"These loans are vital to the recovery of the small businesses that experienced economic pain due to the devastating conditions this year," Sen. Carper said. "The Small Business Administration works hard to ensure that businesses across the country have access to the resources they need to recover from hard times, and these loans reflect that purpose. I encourage New Castle County businesses that were affected by this year's extreme weather to apply for these loans."

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with a 4 percent interest rate for eligible small businesses and 3 percent for non-profit organizations 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.

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. Except for aquaculture enterprises, agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply to SBA.

Disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 [(800) 877-8339 for the hearing-impaired] Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA's website at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Rd., Fort Worth, Texas 76155.

Those affected by the disaster may apply for loans from SBA's website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than May 5, 2012.

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