Chillicothe, OH -- Victims of February's winter storm who receive a loan application from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) should take the time to fill it out - even if they don't want a loan, urged disaster recovery officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA).
Many of the people who call the toll-free number - 1-800-621-FEMA - and apply for assistance will receive a packet containing the SBA loan application within seven to ten days of making the call.
"The loan application provides necessary information for determining the appropriate assistance for that applicant. If the SBA decides not to offer a loan, the individual is then automatically referred to other available disaster assistance," Mike Hall, FEMA deputy federal coordinating officer, said.
Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of low-interest disaster loans.
These low-interest disaster loans are available to residents and businesses of all sizes in the declared counties that were affected by February's severe winter storm. Interest rates on SBA loans can be as low as 2.9 percent for homeowners and 3.189 percent for businesses. Actual loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.
"We are urging anyone who sustained losses because of the storm to apply for assistance and mail-in the completed loan application as soon as possible," Dale Shipley, Ohio EMA state coordinating officer, said.
People who have questions about their application, or who want to apply for disaster assistance, should call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech- or hearing-impairment should call, TTY 1-800-462-7585.
Information on SBA loan applications is also available by calling the SBA helpline at 1-800-359-2227 or visiting the SBA Website at www.SBA.gov/disaster.