HELENA, Mont -- One of the most important messages state and federal officials would like to share with homeowners, renters and business owners in counties recovering from severe storms and flooding is to fill out and return your U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) application - don't throw it away!
After an applicant registers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he or she may receive a loan application package from the SBA. Typically, people think the loans are only for businesses or are simply not interested in a low-interest disaster loan, consequently pushing the SBA documents to the side or possibly discarding them.
"This is where people tend to take themselves out of the process," said Ed Tinsley, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Administrator. "If they don't complete the SBA paperwork, they could miss out on all the FEMA assistance they may qualify for."
Applicants should know:
- Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair/replace real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property. Most interest rates for residents are below three percent with terms as long as 30 years. Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size can borrow up to
$2 million at an interest rate as low as four percent to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets, as well as to cover economic injury.
- Filling out the SBA application is a necessary step to be considered for some 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 some other disaster aid. Applicants may be awarded assistance for personal items, repair or replacement of a vehicle, etc.
Residents of 16 Counties and 3 Reservations are eligible to register for assistance.
President Obama amended Montana's disaster declaration on July 26 to include individual assistance for 16 Montana counties and three reservations including: Big Horn, Blackfeet Reservation, Carbon, Cascade, Crow Reservation, Custer, Fergus, Fort Belknap Reservation, Garfield, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Musselshell, Petroleum, Sweet Grass, Valley and Yellowstone.
Homeowners, renters and businesses who suffered damage as a result of the severe storms and flooding that occurred from April 4 through July 22 may still register for disaster assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free registration number: 1-800-621-3362. The lines are open 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily. Registration can also be done by going online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Those with a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, can call 1-800-462-7585 TTY directly.
SBA representatives at each DRC will assist in completing loan applications, accept loan applications and answer questions about the application process. Questions can also be answered by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339). The lines will operate Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m CDT. Help also is available by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.sba.gov. Those affected by these disasters also can fill out a loan application by visiting SBA's secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term ...