ATLANTA, Ga. --.Georgia residents with damage from the April 27-28 storms are urged to fill out and return their U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) applications. Failing to do so can cause them to miss out on certain forms of disaster assistance.
After applicants register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), they may receive a loan application package from the SBA. People sometimes think the loans are only for businesses or they may not want to take out a low-interest disaster loan, so they may ignore or discard SBA documents.
"This is how people take themselves out of the process," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech "They don't complete the paperwork and end their consideration for possible FEMA aid beyond the initial home repairs and rental assistance."
Applicants should know:
- SBA disaster loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace real estate.
- Homeowners and renters are eligible for SBA loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.
- SBA loan interest rates for residents can be as low as 2.688 percent with terms as long as 30 years.
- Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace storm-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
- Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for non-profit groups.
- Filling out the SBA application is a necessary step to be considered for other forms of disaster assistance. Applicants may be eligible for more aid.
- If SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA for other disaster aid.
"If you received an SBA application, but haven't done anything with it yet, please take another look," said State Coordinating Officer Charley English. "Contact FEMA or the SBA for any questions you may have about the process."
Register or follow up on applications by going online to www.disasterassistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); TTY 1-800-462-7585. Applicants can also visit nearby disaster recovery centers for face-to-face assistance. For SBA information, call 1-800-659-2955 or visit the SBA website at www.sba.gov/services
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.