There Are Plenty of Reasons to Apply for an SBA Disaster Loan

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Release date: 
January 17, 2013
Release Number: 
NR-141

NEW YORK – The very reasons Hurricane Sandy survivors in New York find for not applying for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration are the very reasons they should apply – on or before the Jan. 28 deadline.

“Oh I’m not eligible and I don’t own a business.”

Most SBA disaster loans go to individuals and families, and interest rates may be as low as 1.688 percent with terms up to 30 years. Loans to homeowners help pay for repair or replacement of their disaster-damaged primary residence. The loans also help homeowners and renters pay to replace disaster-damaged personal property.

“I don’t want a loan or can’t qualify for one.”

Filing the loan application does not obligate people to accept the loan, but individual and family applicants must still complete the SBA loan application before they can be considered for certain other FEMA grants and programs that could include assistance for disaster-related medical and dental expenses, disaster-related car repairs, clothing and household items. Completing the SBA application assures that the federal disaster recovery process continues and that you’re keeping your options open.

“It’s just too much trouble to fill out an application.”

It takes less than 30 minutes to fill out an application. Applicants can also receive one-on-one assistance at any Disaster Recovery Center or SBA Business Recovery Center. A simple, fast, and very available way to complete the application is online, using the SBA's electronic loan application. Go to https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA. Plus, you can receive an update on the status of your application by calling 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing).

“But I’m a renter not a homeowner.”

Renters who need to repair or replace essential items lost in Hurricane Sandy can get help from the SBA. Renters may qualify for long-term, low-interest SBA loans to repair or replace personal property items, such as clothing, furniture, cars, or appliances damaged or destroyed in the disaster.

"I’m going to wait for my insurance settlement.”

Survivors should not wait to settle with their insurance companies before applying for SBA disaster loan assistance. If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan. 

“I own the property but it’s not my primary residence.”

If your property is used as a normal part of your business, such as rental property, you may be eligible to apply as a business owner. We suggest you submit your application and let SBA make that determination.

“Why bother with SBA when I also need to raise or elevate my home.”

If your disaster loan application is approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples of improvements include elevating your house, retaining walls, seawalls, sump pumps, etc.

“Our neighbors were turned down for an SBA loan and they make more than we do.”

Don’t make the mistake of eliminating yourself.  Everyone’s situation is unique to them and SBA will work with you if you feel you may have a problem qualifying for the loan.  Remember, if a homeowner or renter cannot qualify for the SBA loan, they will be referred back to FEMA for additional grant consideration.

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

SBA business recovery centers. To locate the nearest business recovery center, visit www.sba.gov or call 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing).

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).

Applicants may also 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 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing). Assistance is also available by sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or by visiting www.sba.gov.

For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov/SandyNY, www.twitter.com/FEMASandy, www.facebook.com/FEMASandy and www.fema.gov/blog.

Last Updated: 
January 18, 2013 - 16:22
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