BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Of the 43,000 disaster loan applications sent to survivors of the April and May storms and tornadoes by the U. S. Small Business Administration, fewer than 4,000 have been returned. SBA loans represent the major source of federal funding for home repair and reconstruction.
SBA applications may also open the door to other financial assistance.
“No one is obligated to accept a loan,” said Jeff Byard, state coordinating officer of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. “But the SBA application may be the basis of referrals to other grant programs. If you received an SBA loan application, it’s important to fill it out and return it promptly.”
Registration with FEMA may prompt the SBA to send a disaster loan application.
An SBA application takes little time to complete, but has a lot to offer. Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.
Businesses of any size and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
No matter the reason for not completing an application, recovery officials say there are important reasons to do so. For instance:
- An insurance settlement may fall short. You may be underinsured for the amount of work required to repair or replace your home. An SBA low-interest disaster loan can cover the costs. You can use your insurance settlement to pay toward your disaster loan. However, the opportunity for an SBA disaster loan may be lost if you wait until after the application deadline. You can apply to the SBA before your insurance is settled.
- SBA can offer a loan that fits your personal budget. If you already have a mortgage on damaged property, SBA specialists can help with a low-interest loan you can afford. In some cases, SBA can refinance all or part of an existing mortgage.
- SBA can help renters replace household contents and vehicles. Renters and homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars or appliances damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
- By submitting your SBA loan application, you keep the full range of disaster assistance available as an option. If SBA does not approve a loan for you – or approves a small loan that doesn’t cover all of your needs – you may be referred to other programs for grants to replace essential household items, replace or repair a damaged vehicle or cover storage expenses, among other serious disaster-related needs. But if you do not submit the loan application from SBA, the assistance process may stop.
For more information, call the SBA at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 TTY). Applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Or homeowners and renters may visit SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela to apply online for disaster loans.
Don't miss out on disaster assistance. Return your SBA disaster loan application today!
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