PURVIS, Miss. – Anyone seeking disaster assistance who does not return their U.S. Small Business Administration loan application could be throwing money away.
Officials from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency urge disaster assistance applicants – renters, homeowners and business owners – to understand the application is a critical step in determining eligibility for all forms of assistance.
The number one mistake people make is assuming SBA packets are only for businesses or simply choosing to ignore the application because they do not want to take out a loan. The application is important; it gives FEMA the information needed to get the proper aid to the disaster survivor.
“SBA loans are an affordable means to pay for up to 100 percent of your uninsured disaster-related losses,” said Jack Camp, SBA spokesperson. “Completing the application is free and easy and you are not obligated to accept a loan if one is offered.”
If a disaster survivor does not qualify for a low-interest loan, completing the forms can be a bridge to additional disaster grant programs. These may include items not normally covered under the SBA disaster loan programs, such as medical and dental bills, funeral expenses and disaster debris removal.
A FEMA grant may be just the beginning of disaster assistance to eligible survivors.
FEMA grants address survivors’ immediate disaster-related needs. They may cover disaster-related expenses such as essential home repairs, replacement of personal property, transportation or the rental of equipment.
“Grants are great, but they don’t cover everything,” said Camp. SBA loans remain the primary source of long-term recovery aid. SBA loans can help survivors fully recover after a disaster.
It takes about 30 minutes to fill out an application and help is available to complete it. Disaster survivors can call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or TTY at 800-877-8339 or go to one of Mississippi’s three Disaster Recovery Centers to meet face-to-face with an SBA representative:
- Ben McNair Recreation Center at 300 North 12th Ave., Hattiesburg
- Petal Civic Center at 712 S. Main St., Petal
- Lamar Park at 226 Pinewood Dr., Hattiesburg
Survivors also can apply online using the electronic loan applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Don’t throw away money. Fill out the SBA application and return as soon as possible.
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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.