ORLANDO, Fla. -- Many Florida residents who registered for tornado disaster assistance will receive a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application packet in the mail that must be returned promptly in order to quickly process any homeowner's or renter's application for state-federal disaster assistance.
Information in the loan application allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to determine the type of assistance an applicant may receive. Although the form must be completed, loan applicants are not required to take out an approved SBA loan.
Recovery officials emphasize homeowners and renters may short-circuit or even halt the assistance process by postponing or ignoring this key information-gathering step.
The SBA provides low-interest loans to help homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and some nonprofit organizations to cover the cost of repairing or replacing lost or damaged structures and personal property.
Residents who have insurance are urged to register with FEMA and complete the SBA application. Registration protects the right to seek state-FEMA disaster assistance which may help pay for damage either not covered or not completely covered by insurance.
- Quick completion of an assistance request can be halted if the SBA application is not returned promptly.
- Information contained in the SBA application will be used by FEMA to determine eligibility for assistance.
- Help with applications or any other information about state-FEMA recovery programs is available at any Disaster Recovery Center .
- Residents with insurance should apply to keep their assistance options open.
- Registration takes about 20 minutes at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY number is 1-800-462-7585 , online registration is available at www.fema.gov. Multilingual registration is available in many languages.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, economic status or retaliation. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, you should call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or contact your State Office of Equal rights. If suspicious of any abuse of FEMA programs, please contact the fraud hotline at 1-800-323-8603.