Washington, DC -- One of the key guidelines for federal disaster assistance is a simple one: If a disaster applicant received a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan packet, the loan application must be filled out and returned before further federal assistance of any kind - such as a grant - may be considered.
District of Columbia residents who experienced disaster-related damages as a result of the Aug.10-12 flooding and storms may also find that, along with a possible FEMA check to repair their home or rent an apartment, they also received an SBA loan packet. Homeowners and renters who wish to be considered for additional help must complete and return the SBA loan forms.
"Frequently, disaster applicants don't understand that a temporary housing check from FEMA may be just the beginning of a more comprehensive assistance package," Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies said. "Most applicants receive an application from the Small Business Administration. Even if they think they don't qualify for a loan, they must complete the forms in order to be considered for other grant programs."
Disaster applicants should know that:
To be referred to the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program, applicants must submit their completed loan forms to the SBA. In most cases, if SBA cannot approve a loan, the request will automatically be referred to the district-administered IFG program.
Repayment ability and reasonably clear credit are two important factors that SBA considers when reviewing a loan application. Applicants should not exclude themselves by making these determinations on their own.
Applicants who are approved for a loan are not obligated to accept it, although denying the loan stops the assistance process.
Disaster residents who have not yet applied for assistance may begin the process by calling the toll-free registration number, 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1- 800- 462-7585). A FEMA representative will explain the programs and review steps necessary to complete the application process. That may include filling out -- and returning - the SBA loan application. Disaster victims can speak directly to SBA loan officers by calling the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 between 7 a.m. and 5p.m. Monday through Friday.