LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Hurricane evacuees are reminded that they must complete and submit the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan form included in the information packet they receive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after registering for assistance.
Completing the SBA loan application is required for all applicants.
Evacuees must return the SBA forms by Jan. 11, 2006, whether they want a loan or not , before they can receive additional assistance. Once they have taken that step, it can be determined whether they are eligible for a loan or a grant. Unlike loans, grants are not repaid.
Evacuees do not need to wait to settle their insurance claims before applying and returning their SBA application packets. Any delays in applying could substantially hinder their recovery efforts.
The SBA looks at the income-to-debt ratio of those who apply to determine if they are eligible. Based on this information, the SBA determines whether the applicant has the resources to pay back a low-interest loan. If the applicant can't afford a loan or they do not qualify, they will be directed to FEMA grants and other resources.
The low interest SBA loans are the main source of federal help for long-term recovery for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes. The loans pay for repairs of damages to private property not fully covered by insurance:
- Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners for real estate repairs
- Homeowners are also eligible for up to $40,000 replacement of disaster-damaged personal property
- Renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace disaster-damaged personal property
- Business owners may borrow up to $1.5 million for losses not covered by insurance
- Business owners also may apply for loans even if they suffered no property damage but their businesses were financially impacted by Hurricane Katrina
If evacuees need help completing the forms, they can call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov/disaster . Completed applications can be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration, National Processing and Disbursement Center , 14925 Kingsport Road , Forth Worth, Texas 76155. The SBA staff is available and committed to assisting applicants.
Evacuees who have not yet registered for help need to call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 or go online at www.fema.gov . SBA forms will arrive with their information packet.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.