SBA Approves Gov. Henry McMaster's Request for Disaster Assistance

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Following Governor Henry McMaster's March 20 request, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that South Carolina's businesses and residents affected by the January 9 tornadoes are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans. The declaration covers Bamberg County and the adjacent counties of Allendale, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Orangeburg.

To assist businesses and residents affected by the disaster, the SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) in Bamberg County at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, as indicated below:  

Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC)
Bamberg County

Bamberg County Annex
1234 North Street
Bamberg, S.C. 29003

Opening: Wednesday, March 27, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hours:     Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
                Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Closed:   Saturday, March 30
Permanently Closes: Wednesday, April 10 at 4 p.m.

Customer Service Representatives will be available at the Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

“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 District Director Richard White.

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

Loans up to $500,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $100,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.  

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of 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, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage.

Interest rates are as low as 4% for businesses, 3.25% for nonprofit organizations, and 2.688% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Interest does not begin to accrue, and monthly payments are not due, until 12 months from the date of the initial disbursement. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online and receive additional disaster assistance information at  Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is May 21, 2024. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Dec. 23, 2024.