Make Sure to Apply with SBA

Release Date:
October 25, 2022

Survivors in the Regional Educational Attendance Areas (REAAs) of Bering Strait, Kashunamiut, Lower Kuskokwim and Lower Yukon affected by the September severe storm, flooding and landslides may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to apply for a low-interest disaster loan before receiving a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determination letter. It is important to submit an SBA loan application as soon as possible to continue forward with your FEMA application.

SBA disaster loans are the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds for survivors to pay for repair or replacement costs not fully compensated by insurance or other assistance. SBA offers long-term, low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, as well as homeowners and renters. There is no cost to apply for the loan and you are not required to take out a loan if you are approved for one.

Disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may be used to:

  • Make home repairs not covered by insurance;
  • Replace clothing, appliances, vehicles and other personal property;
  • Make improvements to reduce the risk of future damage; and
  • Repair or replace disaster-damaged business real estate, machinery & equipment, or inventories.

Please be sure to apply even if you do not believe you will be approved for a loan. If SBA is unable to offer you a loan, you may be referred back to FEMA for additional benefits. If your application is approved, you are not obligated to accept an SBA loan. However, failure to return the application may disqualify you from other possible FEMA assistance. Additionally, you should not wait for an insurance settlement before submitting an SBA loan application. Disaster loans can be available before insurance settlements are made.

Homeowners may be eligible for a disaster loan up to $200,000 for primary residence structural repairs or rebuilding. SBA may also be able to lend homeowners and renters up to $40,000 to replace personal property, including automobiles and appliances damaged or destroyed in the disaster.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela.  For more information or assistance on SBA applications, call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.

For an American Sign Language video, go online to Reasons to Apply for an SBA Loan.

After submitting your SBA application, you will receive a determination letter. If you are approved for a loan, you are not required to take one out. However, if you are denied for a loan, you will be referred back to FEMA, where you will then receive a FEMA determination letter. This letter will explain your application status and provide additional instructions on how to respond. If you receive a letter stating you are ineligible for FEMA assistance or that a determination could not be reached, be sure to read through the entire letter. It is possible you may need to submit additional information or supporting documentation for FEMA to continue processing your application. If you have questions about your letter, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call 866-342-1699.

FEMA is committed to providing equal access to our programs and services without discrimination. If you require a reasonable accommodation, call or text 907-727-6221 or email FEMA-language-access-request@fema.dhs.gov. You can also let staff in the field know you require an accommodation such as spoken language resources, mobility assistance, or sign language interpreting services. If you feel you have experienced discrimination, call the FEMA Civil Rights Resource line at 833-285-7448 or 800-462-7585 (TTY/TDD) or email FEMA-CivilRightsOffice@fema.dhs.gov.

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Last updated October 25, 2022