The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency work together in assisting disaster survivors. Registering for federal assistance and completing the SBA application are two steps toward one goal: to help those rebuilding their lives after a disaster.
FEMA grants may cover essential needs including personal items such as clothing and vehicles. These grants do not make disaster survivors whole again.
The SBA is a primary source of federal funds for recovery for both individuals and businesses; filling out the SBA loan application is necessary for most businesses, homeowners and renters to be considered for all forms of disaster assistance. If any future funding becomes available in the form of grants or loans, completing the FEMA and SBA registration prior to the Aug, 24 deadline will be a necessary step to qualify for additional assistance.
The SBA’s low-interest disaster loans of up to $200,000 can help qualified homeowners repair or replace damaged real estate. In addition, renters and homeowners may get up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property. In both cases, these SBA loans are only for damaged personal items not covered by your insurance. Loans may be increased up to 20 percent of verified losses to cover the cost of measures to prevent possible damages from a future natural or man-made disaster.
Businesses can apply for loans of up to $2 million.
SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.625 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.
The most common reasons people in West Virginia are not applying for an SBA loan:
• Oh, I’m not eligible and I don’t own a business.
SBA disaster loans also go to individuals and families-as well as businesses. Interest rates may be as low as 1.625 percent with terms up to 30 years.
• I don’t want a loan or can’t qualify for one.
Filing the loan application does not obligate you to accept the loan, but most individual and family applicants must still complete the SBA loan application before they can be considered for certain other FEMA grants and programs. That could include assistance for disaster-related medical and dental expenses, car repairs, clothing and household items. Completing the SBA application assures that the federal disaster recovery process continues and keeps your options open.
• It’s just too much trouble to fill out an application.
It only takes about 30 minutes to fill out a loan application. You also can receive one-on-one assistance at a Disaster Recovery Center. A simple, fast way to apply is online, using the SBA’s electronic loan application at https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA. Updates on loan application status are available by calling 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339. There are many Disaster Recovery Centers set up in the area right now. Call SBA customer service at 800-659-2955 to find the one closest to you.
• I’m going to wait for my insurance settlement.
Don’t wait to settle with the insurance company. If you do not know how much of your loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided you agree to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay your SBA loan.
According to Richard Daigle, Public Affairs Specialist with the SBA, “As of July 25, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved over $21 million in low-interest loans for businesses and residents in West Virginia. This number includes 305 home loans and 15 business loans. Many more loans are still pending approval.”