There less than one week left to apply for disaster assistance from FEMA and to submit applications for physical low-interest disaster loans to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). West Virginia survivors eligible for federal assistance, who were impacted by the June 22-29 storms, floods, landslides and mudslides, have until Wednesday, Sept. 7, to file their applications.
More than two months after President Obama signed the June 25 disaster declaration making West Virginia residents in Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers and Webster counties eligible for federal assistance, 8,791 households have applied to FEMA for help.
Storm survivors in the 12 designated counties have been approved for FEMA grants under the Individuals and Households Program totaling more than $39.2 million to date, while the SBA has approved 714 loans to homeowners, renters and businesses for more than $46.7 million.
Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement, and disaster-related needs. Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and state programs. Grants do not have to be repaid to the federal government.
Registering with FEMA is the first step in qualifying for assistance. Sept. 7 is the last day for survivors to file an application. FEMA encourages all survivors who sustained disaster-related damage or losses to apply by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or online at DisasterAssistance.gov. The toll-free lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
The SBA, one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans may cover repairs, rebuilding, as well as the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.
For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster. TTY users may call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. The deadline to file an SBA physical disaster loan application is Wednesday, Sept. 7.
You are not required to accept a loan even if you qualify for one.
If the SBA determines you aren’t eligible for a home loan, they will refer you back to FEMA. This could make you eligible for more FEMA aid.
If your SBA loan application is approved, you may be eligible to borrow additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples include elevating utilities, water heaters and furnaces, and installing retaining walls and sump pumps. Applicants may be eligible for an SBA loan increase, for mitigation purposes, of up to 20 percent of their physical damages.
Survivors with questions regarding their application or who have not yet registered for assistance should call the FEMA toll-free Helpline (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362. (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or visit DisasterAssistance.gov. The lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
West Virginia homeowners and renters who have registered for disaster assistance with FEMA are encouraged by recovery officials to “stay in touch.” If survivors change their address or phone numbers they should update that information with FEMA. Missing or erroneous information could result in delays getting a home inspection or in receiving assistance.