After you apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you may be contacted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). If you are asked to submit an application for a low-interest SBA disaster loan, don’t hesitate.
If SBA determines you are eligible for a loan, you don’t have to accept it. If you don’t qualify for a loan, SBA will refer you back to FEMA and you could be considered for other FEMA grants for Other Needs Assistance, which covers items like disaster-related car repairs, clothing, household items and other expenses. You can’t be considered for these grants unless you complete and return the SBA loan application.
Some types of Other Needs Assistance do not depend on completing the SBA application. These include, medical, dental and funeral expenses. So it’s not necessary to submit the application for those kinds of grants.
In planning your recovery, give yourself the widest possible set of options. Submitting the application makes it possible for you to be considered for additional grants, and if you qualify for a loan you will have that resource available if you choose to use it.
Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 from SBA to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury. The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is Oct. 24, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 25, 2018.