ANDOVER, Mass. -- Disaster recovery officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) urge victims of the May severe storms and flooding in Massachusetts to take the time to fill out a disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) even if they do not want a loan.
Returning the loan packet is a critical part of the assistance process. Because FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only, SBA loans are important in helping households return to their pre-disaster condition. However, being approved for a loan does not obligate the applicant to take it, it merely provides a source of recovery funds. And for those who are turned down for a loan, additional FEMA assistance may be available.
Interest rates on SBA loans can be as low as 2.9 percent for homeowners and renters and 4 percent for businesses. Actual loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's situation. These low-interest disaster loans are available to residents and businesses of all sizes in the disaster-declared counties of Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk.
Those 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). Registration can also be done online at www.fema.gov. Those with speech or hearing impairment should call, TTY 1-800-462-7585. Information on SBA loan applications is available by calling the SBA helpline at 1-800-659-2955 or visiting the SBA Website at www.SBA.gov/disaster. Those who have already registered with FEMA will receive a packet containing the SBA loan application within seven to ten days.
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 part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.