MDES, SBA offer assistance to more Isaac-impacted counties

AROUND MISSISSIPPI — The Mississippi Department of Employment Security has added more counties to those eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, and the U.S. Small Business Administration has added another county to those eligible for low-interest loans.

The MDES has begun accepting applications for DUA from people living or working in five additional counties that have received a federal disaster declaration because of damages from Isaac. The added counties are Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Jones, and Lamar.

Earlier this week the President declared them eligible for individual assistance opening the door to affected workers to receive DUA. Affected workers included in this amended declaration have until Nov. 2, 2012, to apply for assistance.

On Sept. 4, MDES announced that DUA was available in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties. Workers in these counties have until Oct. 4 to apply for assistance. On Sept. 10, the declaration was amended to include Adams, Amite, Clarke, Forrest, George, Hinds, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Stone, Walthall, Warren and Wilkinson counties. Workers in these counties have until Oct. 10 to apply for DUA.

Self-employed individuals, who were living or working in the affected areas at the time of the major disaster, and those who are unemployed as a result of the major disaster, may be eligible for DUA. In addition, those who were unable to reach their jobs, because the disaster prevented their travel, or who were scheduled to begin employment, but the disaster prevented them from doing so, may apply.

Eligible to apply for DUA are individuals who: (1) became the major support for a household because of the disaster-related death of the head of the household; (2) cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; and; (3) could not work or lost work as a result of physical damage or destruction of a business.

Individuals in all of the eligible disaster assistance counties in Mississippi can apply online 24 hours a day at mdes.ms.gov or by calling toll-free, 1-888-844-3577 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In a separate item, the SBA has added Clarke County to the disaster declaration for private non-profit organizations (PNPs) that do not provide critical services of a governmental nature. PNPs that are interested in obtaining SBA low-interest loans for repairs that resulted from damages caused by Isaac must apply before the Nov. 13 deadline.

PNPs located in the following counties that provide non-critical services are eligible to apply: Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Clarke, Copiah, Covington, Franklin, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Newton, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Smith, Stone, Walthall, Wayne and Wilkinson. Examples of eligible non-critical PNP organizations include, but are not limited to, food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges.

PNP organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.

The SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs, such as ongoing operating expenses to PNP organizations of all sizes. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the organization suffered any physical property damage.

Interest rates are as low as 3 percent with terms up to 30 years. The SBA sets the loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition.

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

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 deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be 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 Nov. 13, 2012. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2013.

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