Nashville, TN - Disaster applicants who applied for assistance after sustaining damage as a result of the July 21st - 22nd severe storms, high winds and heavy rain and who will later receive a loan application from the U. S. Small Business Administration, should take the time to fill it out, even if a loan is not desired, urged disaster recovery officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).
Many applicants who call the toll-free application line, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585, and apply for assistance will receive an SBA loan application within seven to 10 days of making the call.
"The loan application provides necessary information for determining the appropriate assistance for that applicant, but the applicant must mail the application back first. If the SBA is not able to approve a home loan, the individual is referred to another available disaster assistance program," Charles M. Butler, the FEMA official in charge of disaster recovery, said.
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs and cannot normally compensate applicants for their entire loss. If the applicant has insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under the insurance policy. Disaster aid grants do not have to be paid back.
James H. Bassham, Tennessee coordinating officer for disaster recovery, explained, "These low-interest disaster loans are available to residents and businesses of all sizes in the disaster-declared counties of Fayette and Shelby, who were affected by the severe weather in July. 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."
Everyone who sustained losses due to the July storms should apply for disaster assistance as soon as possible. It takes only one toll-free phone call to apply, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with 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.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.