AUSTIN, Texas -- Eligible wildfire survivors can make sure they receive all available recovery assistance by simply completing and returning their U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan applications by Dec. 8 — the same deadline to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). And it only takes about 30 minutes.
In half an hour, survivors can make a big difference in their recovery by applying for an SBA low-interest disaster loan.
“The Dec. 8 deadline will be here before you know it, so it’s important to register with FEMA now,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “Survivors should also use this time to fill out and return their SBA application, as it can be a very important step toward recovery.”
Since the disaster declaration for the wildfires, 140 individuals, families and businesses have been approved for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA — amounting to $15.2 million.
If the SBA finds the applicant qualifies for a loan, there is no obligation to accept it. However, filling out the application, whether or not a loan is offered, ensures that survivors are considered for the full range of disaster assistance that may be available to them.
The application form is simple. It asks for your name, contact information, Social Security number, mailing address, address of damaged property, income and assets, monthly housing cost, insurance information, debts and credit references. The language is clear and the application is not long.
After applicants register with FEMA, they may receive an SBA loan application package in the mail. By returning the SBA loan application, homeowners may qualify for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their fire-damaged homes. Renters and homeowners may be eligible for up to $40,000 for replacement of personal property.
Furthermore, businesses of any size may be eligible for physical disaster loans to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, inventory, machinery or equipment, and other business assets. For small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations having difficulties meeting operating expenses because of the fires, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Additional information about SBA loans is available through SBA's Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339. Advice is also available by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
Texans in 23 counties can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Assistants are available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
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.