HARRISBURG, Pa. -- If you registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because you were affected by Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee, you may receive an U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application. Even if you do not want a loan it is important to complete it so FEMA and SBA can determine what you may be eligible for.
If you filed directly for a SBA loan the simplest, fastest, and most available way to complete the application is online, using the SBA's electronic loan application. Go to disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. The website is secure and the process is user friendly. The electronic loan application contains a feature that automatically checks errors and prompts you when more information is needed.
Commonwealth Coordinating Officer John Forr said, "The online application makes filing easier and, most important, it helps expedite the disaster loan and gets the funds into people's hands. It's designed to get applicants a quick decision and a speedier recovery."
SBA disaster loans are the primary source of funds to pay for repair or replacement costs not fully covered by insurance. Don't wait for an insurance settlement - apply for assistance as soon as possible.
SBA disaster loans for as much as $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair/replace real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for as much as $40,000 from SBA to repair/replace personal property. Businesses of any size may borrow as much as $2 million to repair/replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.
For small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations having difficulties meeting operating expenses because of the disaster, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans for as much as $2 million.
Interest rates are as low as 2.5 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for businesses, with up to 30-year repayment terms. Thus far, SBA has approved more than $21.8 million in Pennsylvania home and business loans directly related to the Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee disasters.
For more information about SBA disaster assistance, call the Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can visit the website at www.sba.gov. Those with access or functional needs may call TTY 1-800-877-8339.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is November 14, 2011. The deadline for Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications is June 12, 2012.
To register with FEMA, the number to call is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 directly. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov. If you have a disability and need help registering, please don't hesitate to contact FEMA to ask for help.
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.