The $1,200 (or more) worth of “cash payments” to individual South Dakotans are still in the works, but some economic relief from problems related to the COVID-19 crisis are on the way from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Friday, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said South Dakota small businesses “suffering substantial economic injury” as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak will be eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist South Dakota small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Carranza said.

According to Carranza, the Economic Injury Disaster Loans:

Offer up to $2 million in assistance per small businesses experiencing a loss of revenue.

May be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.

Allow the borrower up to 30 years for repayment.

Gov. Kristi Noem applied for the assistance upon recognizing the distress that COVID-19 is placing on South Dakota’s economy.

“I submitted a request to the SBA for expedited approval of the disaster relief declaration and received word this afternoon that South Dakota has been approved,” Noem said. “Both my Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Department of Tourism have been working diligently to reach out and survey companies to determine the impact of COVID-19 on our small business community. If your business is impacted by COVID-19, please reach out to my team at GOED or Tourism. We are here to help.”

For Businesses

Loan applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov;mailto:disastercustomerservice@sba.gov> for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Completed applications should be mailed to:

U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 17.

For Workers

Meanwhile, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation on Friday reported a “dramatic increase” in layoffs related to COVID-19.

“We are adding additional staff to the Call Center to handle the influx of claims, assigning additional staff to help reset passwords, and adding more phone lines,” Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman said. “Job Service offices will remain closed to the public until March 30, but staff will be onsite answering calls.”

To file an unemployment claim in South Dakota, visit raclaims.sd.gov or call 605-626-3179 or 605-626-2452.

Applicants will need a Social Security number, driver’s license or State ID and 18 months of work history. The average benefit is approximately half of one’s weekly wage, capped at a maximum of $414 per week.

Hultman said a COVID-19 related layoff lasting less than 10 weeks does not require the person to be able, available and actively looking for work.

“We understand this is the first-time many people have had to file for unemployment, and it’s unfamiliar territory,” Hultman added. “Our team is here to help you navigate the process.”

Job seekers are encouraged to continue searching sdjobs.org, as employers are still actively seeking workers.

To file a weekly request for payment, visit raclaims.sd.gov or call 605-626-3212. The application will ask: “Did you make contacts for employment as instructed?” Claimants should select, “no” and write “not required” in the comment box.

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