May 17th, 2010 8:21 AM by Sherry Lee
In an effort to provide assistance to those individuals and businesses suffering economic losses due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, enclosed below are details on how to file a claim with British Petroleum (BP). Information is also included on how to apply for a low interest Economic Injury Loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This help for spill-affected businesses comes in response to requests to me and other Legislators from Northwest Florida employers and families.
As the responsible party of the spill, BP has repeatedly stated they will continue to provide assistance for economic damages. However, these loans through the SBA will create an additional tool to assist businesses through these difficult times, while working through the BP claims process.
In order to assist all individuals and businesses that may be affected due to economic losses, BP officials are requesting those who are or may be affected, to please contact their claims hotline at (800) 440-0858 or stop by a claims office to open an account.
1)Are claims offices going to be established for individuals to come in a file a claim? Where will those locations be set up?
Yes, here are the locations and the anticipated opening dates in Northwest Florida:
Escambia County Open 8 am- 7 pm, 7 days a week
3960 W. Navy BlvdSuite 16Pensacola, FL 32507
Santa Rosa County OPENING May 14th
5668 Gulf Breeze PkwyUnit B-9Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
Okaloosa County OPENING May 15th
348 SW Miracle Strip PkwySuite 13Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
Walton County OPENING May 16th
5008 US Hwy 98WUnit 6&7Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
2) Will there be more information on BP’s website to assist with filing a claim? Will an online claims form be provided on the company’s website?
BP officials are working towards providing more information on their website regarding the claims process including establishing an online claims form. However, if you are seeking to file a claim, officials ask that you contact their hotline at 1-800-440-0858.
3) It is difficult to get through via phone. Is BP going to set up more phone lines in order to allow more people to call into for filing claims?
Officials are currently seeking to add more phone lines to provide better service to those individuals seeking to file a claim.
4) What is the detailed process to file a claim?
All claimants need to contact BP’s hotline (1-800-440-0858) that is manned by the catastrophic loss division of ESIS specializing in oil spill claims.
5) Once filed, will payment from claims filed be provided continuously once the application is submitted? How long will the claims process take to acquire payment?
a. BP says payments will be made to address immediate issues associated with property damage or loss of income due to the oil spill.
b. BP believes that it is appropriate to provide interim payments to claimants who are not receiving ordinary income or project while the cleanup is underway.
c. Within 48 hours of receiving supporting documentation (e.g. tax return) the claim will be evaluated and the claimant will be notified of an advance payment for the claim.
d. The equivalent of 1 month’s income will be paid and these payments will continue until they are able to return to work or their overall claim is resolved.
e. BI claims can be handled via phone or in person. Bills will be paid or reimbursed.
f. If a claim is rejected the person will be notified in writing of non-payment.
g. Claims are currently being paid. To date, there are 768 claim accounts opened in Florida, and BP has paid $193, 899.98 towards these claims.
Economic Injury Loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration
A Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be open in Escambia County located at:
Small Business Development Center
401 E. Chase Street Suite 100
Pensacola, FL 32502
Office hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Economic Injury Loans Questions and Answers
If your small business or private, non-profit organization has suffered substantial economic injury, regardless of physical damage, and is located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and certain private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered substantial economic injury resulting from a physical disaster or an agricultural production disaster designated by the Secretary of Agriculture may be eligible for the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Substantial economic injury is the inability of a business to meet its obligations as they mature and to pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses.
An EIDL can help you meet necessary financial obligations that your business or private, non-profit organization could have met had the disaster not occurred. It provides relief from economic injury caused directly by the disaster and permits you to maintain a reasonable working capital position during the period affected by the disaster. The SBA provides EIDL assistance only to those businesses or private, non-profit organizations we determine are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. The SBA can provide up to $2.0 million in disaster assistance to a business. This loan cap includes both economic injury and physical damage assistance. Your loan amount will be based on your actual economic injury and financial needs. The interest rate on EIDLs cannot exceed 4 percent per year. The term of these loans cannot exceed 30 years. Your term will be determined by your ability to repay the loan.
Q. How may I use an EIDL?
A. The loan will provide you with operating funds until your business or private, non-profit organization recovers. To the extent you could have made payments had the disaster not occurred, you may use the loan to make payments on short-term notes, accounts payable and installment payments on long-term notes.
Q. How much money may I borrow?
A. You may request an EIDL for the amount of economic injury and operating needs, but not in excess of what your business or private, non-profit organization could have paid had the disaster not occurred. In determining your eligible amount, the SBA will look at:
· the total of your debt obligations;
· operating expenses that mature during the period affected by the disaster, plus the amount you need to maintain a reasonable working capital position during that period
· and expenses you could have met and a working capital position you could have maintained had the disaster not occurred.
The amount of your economic injury does not automatically represent the dollar amount of your loan eligibility; the SBA will evaluate the information you provide and determine the reasonableness of your loan request.
Q. Must I submit a personal financial statement with my loan application?
A. Yes. The SBA must review your financial statement and one for each partner, officer, director and stockholder with 20 percent or more ownership. The SBA requires the principals of the business to personally guarantee repayment of the loan and, in some instances, to secure the loan by pledging additional collateral.
Q. Must I sell assets that are not used in my regular business operations before I am eligible for an EIDL?
A. The SBA will review the availability of such assets to determine if part or all of your economic injury might be remedied by using such assets. The business and its principal owners must use their own resources to overcome the economic injury to the greatest extent possible without causing undue hardship.
Q. If I can borrow from a bank, am I still eligible for SBA assistance?
A. Private credit sources must be used as much as possible to overcome the economic injury. The SBA can provide EIDL assistance only to the extent the business (and its principals) cannot recover by using its own resources and normal lending channels.
Q. What are some prohibited uses of an EIDL?
A. You may not use funds to pay cash dividends or bonuses, or for disbursements to owners, partners, officers or stockholders not directly related to the performance of services for the business. The SBA will not refinance long-term debts or provide working capital that was needed by the business prior to the disaster.
Q. Is collateral required for an EIDL?
A. Collateral is required for all EIDL loans over $5,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral where it is available. Applicants do not need to have full collateral; SBA will take what is available to secure each loan.
Q. How long will I have to pay off the SBA loan?
A. The SBA will assess your financial situation and will set loan terms based on your needs and repayment ability. The maximum maturity for disaster loans is 30 years.
Q. What kind of documentation should I use to show my losses?
A.In order for the SBA to compare your financial condition and operating results preceding the disaster with those during and since the disaster period, you must furnish balance sheets and operating statements for similar periods of time. The specific requirements are contained in the EIDL application form.
Q. If I receive an EIDL, may I spend the loan money any way I want?
A. No. An EIDL is intended to help you maintain a secure financial condition until your business or private, non-profit organization is back to normal. Your loan will be made for specific and designated purposes. Remember that the penalty for misusing disaster funds is immediate repayment of one- and-a-half times the original amount of the loan. The SBA requires that you keep receipts and good records of all loan expenditures for three years following receipt of your SBA loan.
Q. May I expand my business facilities or purchase a new line of inventory with an EIDL?
Q. If I show the SBA that I am not making a profit, is that enough to qualify me for an EIDL?
A. No. Neither lack of profit or loss of anticipated sales alone is sufficient to establish substantial economic injury. Substantial economic injury occurs only when you cannot meet current obligations because of the disaster. Indicators of economic injury might be a larger than normal volume of receivables, a lower sales volume, slow inventory turnover, and the development of delinquencies in trade payables, current accruals and debt payments.
Q. Are private, non-profit organizations eligible for an EIDL?
A. Yes, except that religious and certain other private, non-profit organizations are not eligible.
Q. How soon will I know if I get the loan?
A. That depends on how soon you file a complete SBA loan application. We must calculate the amount of economic injury and the working capital and other needs of your business or private, non-profit organization. We must be satisfied that you can repay the loan out of business operations, and we must take reasonable safeguards to help ensure the loan is repaid. The SBA loan application asks for the information we need. Since we process applications in the order received, the faster you can return it with all the needed information, the faster we can work on it. We try to make a decision on each application within 21 days. Be sure the information in your application is complete; missing information is the biggest cause of delay.
Q. How soon can I expect the money?
A. Loans greater than $5,000 have to be secured. After we approve a request, we will tell you what documents are needed to close the loan. When we receive these documents, we can order the checks. You will receive the money in installments, as it is needed.
Q. Is flood insurance needed to get a loan?
A. If the applicant is in a special flood hazard area, it must have flood insurance before we can disburse a loan. If the applicant was legally required to maintain flood insurance but did not, a disaster loan will not be made.