San Juan, PR -- In the wake of the May 6 - 11 floods and mudslides, homeowners, renters and business owners of all sizes who sustained damages not fully covered by insurance are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Anyone who registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was referred to SBA, should return their applications as soon as possible," said William E. Leggiero, Jr., SBA area director.
"Until the application is returned and processed, we cannot tell if an individual is eligible for an SBA loan or other disaster assistance programs offered through FEMA or the Government of Puerto Rico," said Justo Hernández, federal coordinating officer for the recovery effort.
For registered applicants who receive an SBA application, completing the application is a necessary first step to recovery. Returning the application, however, is equally important. "When disaster applicants fail to return an SBA loan application, the federal assistance process stops, and individuals remove themselves from consideration for other forms of assistance," Leggiero said.
Leggiero stressed that filing a loan application in no way obligates the applicant to accept a loan. He also urges applicants to return loan applications regardless of pending insurance settlements. In many cases, the insurance settlement process can take longer than it does to process a loan. In these cases, the home or business owners can use the loan to begin their recovery process and use their insurance settlement to pay off loan balances.
SBA also has low-interest physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to small businesses including agriculture-dependent businesses and small agricultural cooperatives that suffered losses due to the floods or mudslides.
People with questions about disaster loans can call the SBA office at 1-800-659-2955, or visit an SBA loan officer at any of the Disaster Recovery Centers. As of June 13, more than $520,800 in loan monies have been approved for Puerto Rico residents.