SBA disaster loan application deadline nears

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Carroll County residents and business owners needing help to recover from the spring floods and storms may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA).

SBA disaster loans are the primary source of money to pay for repair or replacement costs not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.

Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property. Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury, including loss of business because of forced closure.

The application deadline for homeowners is Aug. 1 and for business owners, it's Feb. 2, 2012.

In order to apply for these loans, applicants must first register with FEMA at (800) 621-3362. An official from FEMA would then tell applicants to submit SBA disaster loan applications. If SBA does not approve the application, in most cases they will refer applicants to FEMA's Other Needs Assistance program for possible assistance.

"If you are referred to the SBA by FEMA, it is very important that you turn in your application even if you aren't interested in a loan," said Cynthia Cowell, a public information officer with the SBA. "This is because you may still qualify for FEMA relief if you do not qualify for an SBA loan." 

Even if insurance policies are in place, people should still register with FEMA and go through the SBA loan application process, Cowell said.

"If your insurance comes through and you don't need a loan, then you're not obligated," she said, or insurance funds can be used to pay back the SBA loan.

By law, interest rates for SBA loans depend on whether an applicant has credit available elsewhere. The interest rates applicable for the disaster in Carroll County are 2.563 percent for home loans, 4 percent for business loans and 3 percent for nonprofit organization loans.

FEMA officials were in Carroll County on Wednesday and Thursday to help people apply for assistance. 

For more information on SBA disaster loans, call the SBA at (800) 659-2955.

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