ATLANTA, Ga. -- For many Georgia residents and business owners recovering from recent severe storms and tornadoes, completing a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application is a necessity. SBA disaster loans provide funds to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations for uninsured losses.
While federal grants are one form of disaster assistance available, most of the money for repairs or replacement of storm-damaged real estate, business inventory and personal property comes in the form of low-interest SBA disaster loans. A completed SBA disaster home loan application is an essential component for some disaster-related grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Applicants who receive SBA loan applications should complete and return them to be considered for FEMA grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. However, no one is obligated to accept a loan.
Those living and working in one of the 25 federally declared Georgia counties – Bartow, Catoosa, Cherokee, Coweta, Dade, Greene, Habersham, Harris, Heard, Floyd, Gordon, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Spalding, Troup, Upson, Walker and White – may be eligible for an SBA loan. Homeowners, renters, certain private non-profit organizations and businesses of all sizes can apply for SBA for losses not covered by insurance or other sources. Persons with home-based businesses or rental property who have been affected by the storms may also be eligible for SBA loans.
Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.
Businesses may be eligible for up to $2 million in loans to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA also provides small business owners and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes with Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) that provide money for ongoing business expenses needed to recover from the adverse economic impact of a disaster. These disaster loans are available even if the business didn’t sustain physical damages from the storms.
Loan amounts and terms are determined on a case-by-case basis. Interest rates can be as low as
2.688 percent for homeowners and renters, three percent for non-profit organizations, and four percent for businesses. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and based on each applicant’s financial condition. Payment terms as long as 30 years make the loans more affordable.
To register for assistance, residents should call FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY/TDD 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing functional needs between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multi-lingual operators are available to answer calls during this time. Online registration is offered at www.disasterassistance.gov.
SBA representatives are available to assist with loan applications and to answer questions:
- In person at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) operating in 13 of the federally declared counties. Location of the nearest DRC is available when registering by phone or by going online to www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.
- SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or 800-877-8339 TTY for anyone with speech or hearing functional needs Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until further notice on Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT.
- Online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
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