NEW YORK — Federal Emergency Management Agency grants are not the only disaster assistance option for Hurricane Sandy survivors. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s low-interest disaster loan program is another important source of assistance for homeowners, renters and businesses.
While some people prefer to avoid borrowing money to cover disaster-related expenses, additional unforeseen costs can arise down the road, leaving them without enough money to cover all expenses.
Additional financial gaps that may occur include:
- Insurance not covering all repair or rebuilding costs;
- Discovering disaster-related damage costs are more than the initial estimate; and
- Finding additional damages.
Survivors who receive low-interest disaster loan applications from SBA after registering with FEMA should complete and return the applications even if they do not plan to accept a loan. By completing this important step in the process, they may become eligible for other forms of assistance, including additional grants from FEMA for homeowners and renters.
Homeowners, renters, private nonprofit organizations and businesses of all sizes, including people who own rental property, in designated counties can apply for low-interest disaster loans to pay for disaster-related damages. Applicants may apply for loans with SBA before insurance is settled.
Homeowners can receive loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residences. Homeowners and renters may also borrow up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property including vehicles. Businesses and private nonprofits can apply for loans of up
to $2 million. Interest rates for businesses are as low as four percent to cover physical damage and economic injury caused by the disaster. For private nonprofits, interest rates are as low as three percent.
Disaster loans with rates as low as 1.688 percent are available for homeowners and renters in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties, which have been designated for FEMA individual assistance. Loan terms may be up to 30 years to make payments affordable.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA. More information is available by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center toll-free number, 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339.) Assistance is also available by sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or by visiting www.sba.gov.
SBA customer service representatives are available to issue or accept low-interest disaster loan applications and answer questions at all New York State/FEMA disaster recovery centers and 12 SBA business recovery centers.
To find the nearest disaster recovery center, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or, with a tablet or smartphone, go to m.fema.gov. You may also text “DRC” and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA). For example, if you lived in Staten Island, you would text: “DRC 10301.” Or call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).
To locate the nearest business recovery center, visit www.sba.gov or call 800-659-2955