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Only one week left for Virginia hurricane survivors to apply to FEMA, SBA

Release date: 
December 28, 2016
Release Number: 
DR-4291-VA NR-33

Virginia Beach, Va. – Survivors have one week left to apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and to submit applications for low-interest disaster loans to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Virginia survivors eligible for federal assistance, impacted by Hurricane Matthew have until Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, to file their applications.

More than two months after President Obama signed the Nov. 2 disaster declaration making Virginia residents in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach eligible for federal assistance, 5,108 households have applied to FEMA for help.

Storm survivors in the seven designated cities have been approved for FEMA grants under the Individuals and Households program totaling more than $8.6 million to date, while SBA has approved 358 loans to homeowners, renters and businesses totaling more than $12 million.

Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement and disaster-related needs. Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and state programs. You do not have to repay grants to the federal government.

Registering with FEMA is the first step in qualifying for assistance. Jan. 3, 2017, is the last day for survivors to file an application. FEMA encourages all survivors who sustained disaster-related damage or losses to apply by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or online at The toll-free lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week, until further notice.  Multilingual operators are available.

The SBA, one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans may cover repairs, rebuilding, as well as the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.

For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, email, or visit TTY users may call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at The deadline to file an SBA physical disaster loan application is Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

You are not required to accept a loan even if you qualify for one.

If SBA determines you are not eligible for a home loan, it will refer you back to FEMA. This could make you eligible for more FEMA aid.

If SBA approves your loan application, you may be eligible to borrow additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples include relocation and elevation of utilities and installing retaining walls and sump pumps. Applicants may be eligible for an SBA loan increase for mitigation purposes of up to 20 percent of their physical damages.

Survivors with application questions or those who have not yet registered for assistance may call the FEMA toll-free help line (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362. (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or visit The lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Virginia homeowners and renters who have registered for disaster assistance with FEMA are encouraged by recovery officials to “stay in touch.” If survivors change their address or phone numbers, they should update that information with FEMA. Missing or erroneous information could result in delays getting a home inspection or in receiving assistance.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:01