KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For flood victims who may be wondering what to do with a loan packet from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) the advice is simple: fill it out and turn it in.
The sooner that happens, state and federal disaster recovery officials say, the sooner more money for rebuilding may be available.
"There is help available for those who need it," SBA Regional Administrator Bruce Kent said. "For the fastest response, it is important to return the completed application to us as soon as possible."
SBA disaster loans cover uninsured or underinsured disaster losses. Loans of up to $200,000 can be made to repair disaster-damaged primary residences. Qualified homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as furniture, automobiles, clothing and other household fixtures.
Loans of up to $1.5 million are available to businesses and non-profit organizations to repair damage to real estate, machinery, equipment and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans also may be available to businesses that are unable to pay bills or meet ongoing expenses because of the disaster.
SBA loans are just one of several state and federal disaster assistance programs triggered by a single registration to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Registrations are made by calling toll-free, 1-800-462-9029 (or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for people with hearing or speech impairments).
Renters, homeowners and/or business owners who reported structural damage or personal property losses during their registration are mailed an SBA loan application packet. Returning the loan packet does not obligate an applicant to accept a loan but is a necessary step before being considered for other forms of disaster assistance, according to FEMA officials.
SBA and FEMA officials offer flood victims these additional pointers about SBA loans:
- Don't wait for insurance settlements before returning the loan application. If insurance payments do come later, these proceeds can be used to pay off loan balances.
- There is no penalty if an SBA loan is paid off early.
- Most loans are made at an interest rate ranging from 3-4%. The maximum term of an SBA loan is 30 years.
- SBA loans can be used to pay for improvements that will lessen the impact of future disasters. These improvements can include things such as elevating an electrical panel box, elevating major appliances such as water heaters or furnaces; installing back-flow valves or any number of other flood-proofing techniques.
SBA will have representatives on hand at the state/federal Disaster Recovery Center, 64 Northland Center in Jennings, through this week. The center will close permanently at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14. Daily hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment is necessary.