Birmingham, AL -- Applicants for disaster assistance 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.
Disaster recovery officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) said many people who register by calling the toll-free number - 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - will receive an 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," said Gracia Szczech, federal coordinating officer.
Government disaster assistance only covers basic needs not met by insurance. 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 38 counties affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in May. Interest rates on SBA loans can be as low as 2.812 percent for homeowners and 2.953 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 storms to apply for assistance and to mail-in the completed loan application as soon as possible," said Perry Martin, state coordinating officer.
Two temporary SBA offices with a FEMA representative are located in the Birmingham area at the old Baptist Medical Center Clinic, 5947 Chalkville Mountain Road, Trussville, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and in Huntsville at the Jaycee's Building, 2180 Airport Road SW, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information on SBA loan applications is also available by calling the SBA helpline at 1-800-359-2227 or visiting the SBA Web site at www.SBA.gov/disaster.
People who have questions about their disaster assistance application, or who want to apply, should call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech or hearing mpairment should call the TTY number, 1-800-462-7585.