CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- Some people who have sustained damage from the recent tornadoes, severe storms and flooding and have registered for state and federal assistance received an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Although no one is required to accept an SBA loan, filling out the SBA application is a necessary step to being considered for certain forms of disaster assistance, officials said Friday.
“The SBA disaster loans are the primary source of long-term recovery aid,” according to SBA spokesman Jose Vejarano. “The application gives us and FEMA the information needed so we can get the proper aid for each applicant.”
If the SBA is unable to approve a disaster loan, the applicant may be automatically referred to other disaster-aid programs, Vejarano said. “We encourage anyone who received an SBA loan application to return it as soon as possible. Filling out the loan application carries no obligation to accept the loan.”
For qualifying homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations in Logan, Lincoln, Marion and Wayne counties, SBA disaster loans can be used to pay for disaster-related damages. People with home-based businesses or rental property who have been affected by the storms may also be eligible.
Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property lost in the disaster.
Businesses can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. The SBA also provides small business owners and most private nonprofit organizations “economic injury” disaster loans for ongoing business expenses to recover from the economic impact of a disaster. Economic injury disaster loans are available even if the business didn't sustain physical damages – and the business does not necessarily have to be located in a designated county. It can qualify when if it operates in a county contiguous with a designated county.
Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition, Vejarano said. Interest rates are as low as 1.875 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for businesses. Payment terms can be as long as 30 years.
SBA representatives are on duty at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers to help individuals complete and submit disaster-loan applications and answer any questions. The locations of the centers are available at fema.gov. Click on the link “Apply for Assistance” and then “Disaster Recovery Center locations.”
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.