LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Some Arkansans seeking federal disaster grants might question why they receive an application for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan after they've registered for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The word from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), FEMA and the SBA is that it is extremely important that the SBA paperwork be completed and returned.
"Arkansans should complete and submit the application, even if they don't want a loan," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. "It's a gateway to potential grants from the state and FEMA's Other Needs Assistance program. That's money that does not have to be paid back."
Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants may help replace uninsured or underinsured personal items, clothing or vehicles damaged or destroyed as a result of the disaster. ONA may also cover disaster-related medical and dental costs as well as funeral and burial expenses. This assistance is not meant to return personal property to its pre-disaster condition. ONA cannot duplicate benefits from insurance or other agencies.
Before the state and FEMA can award an ONA grant to eligible applicants, those who receive an SBA loan application must complete and return it as instructed in the SBA packet. Arkansans with questions about the application can contact the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339.
"The state and FEMA want to ensure that eligible Arkansans get every possible dollar coming to them," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper. "Other Needs Assistance is a major component of our efforts to help people in need."
Arkansans in the 30 counties designated for Individual Assistance should register with FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585, online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Specialists are available by phone from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week. Visit www.fema.gov and www.adem.arkansas.gov for news and information about this disaster and the many ways FEMA helps survivors.