LINCOLN, Neb. -- Most Nebraskans who registered for disaster assistance in the aftermath of recent storms and tornadoes are finding they are given a U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application. Officials of the SBA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said the SBA form must be returned before the full range of federal assistance programs can be considered.
"Completing the SBA application is an important part of the process even if applicants don?t want a loan," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, Willie G. Nunn. "The SBA loan is one source for disaster recovery payments. But if people do not qualify for a loan, they may be eligible for a FEMA program that helps with other essential needs."
The SBA provides disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of any size and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace property losses sustained in a declared disaster. Interest rates for homeowners and renters can be as low as 2.687% with terms as long as 30 years. Business loans and loans to non-profit organizations are as low as 4% with terms up to 30 years.
Loans to homeowners for damages to their primary residences can be up to $200,000 for uncompensated losses. Loans up to $40,000 for uncompensated losses to personal contents for both homeowners and renters are also available. Business loans can be as much as $2 million for any combination of uncompensated physical damages and economic injury sustained in a declared disaster. A business is not required to have physical damages to qualify for a working capital loan under SBA?s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
"The key to disaster assistance is returning the SBA loan application," said State Coordinating Officer Cindy Newsham of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. "Failure to return the SBA application may effectively end further federal assistance for this disaster under FEMA?s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program."
Disaster Recovery Centers set up by the state and FEMA are located in Ceresco, Kearney, Lexington, Omaha and Schuyler. Specialists are available at these sites to help anyone who needs assistance filling out the SBA application. An application form can be requested directly from SBA by calling their Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 for those with speech or hearing impairment.
To find out more or to register for disaster assistance, FEMA has established a Helpline. The numbers to call are 1-800-621 FEMA and (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. The registration lines are open 24 hours a day. Applications are also taken online at www.fema.gov/assistance.
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.