HONOLULU, Hawaii -- As hundreds of residents have registered for disaster assistance for the recent severe storms, many will begin to receive loan packets in the mail from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA application must be completed and returned before further assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), can be considered.
“It is essential that you complete this application if you need financial assistance,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Karl. “Information provided in the loan application allows FEMA to determine the type of assistance an applicant is eligible to receive.”
To receive either an SBA loan or a FEMA grant you must complete and return the SBA loan application if you received one. Even those who were insured for their damages should register and return the SBA packet so the eligibility determination can be made and they are prepared if unexpected damages surface after the insurance claim has been paid. Applicants are not required to take an SBA loan.
The SBA offers low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations for losses not fully covered by insurance. These loans are at low interest rates and long terms that make the loans affordable to almost any budget. The SBA may loan up to $200,000 to repair homes, up to $40,000 to replace disaster-damaged personal property and a maximum of $1.5 million is available for businesses.
If you have questions or need help filling out your SBA application you can visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) or call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955. The SBA Customer Service Center can provide current DRC locations and times.
For those who have not yet registered with FEMA, the first step is to apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the speech or hearing impaired. The registration lines are open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time, seven days a week until further notice. Registration can also be done online at www.fema.gov.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.