Florence survivors have until Dec. 13 to apply for SBA loans

Published 8:23 pm Monday, November 5, 2018

It’s a critical step in getting disaster relief money from the federal government — for those who have not yet done so, now is the time to apply for a loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration. As of this week, the deadline to apply has been extended to Dec. 13.

As of last Tuesday, approximately 160 people had applied for SBA loans in Beaufort County, compared to 2,000-plus people who have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This was a cause for concern at Beaufort County Emergency Services, as area residents may miss out on potential aid if they do not apply for SBA.

“Put simply, SBA’s application is the key that potentially unlocks many doors,” Beaufort County Emergency Services Specialist Lisa Williams wrote in an email. “Without that process, those doors remain closed.”

Regardless of whether one intends to take out a loan or not, applying for an SBA loan can give homeowners an opportunity to go back to FEMA for a second round, and possibly receive aid they were denied the first time through.

Since the agency made disaster declarations in September, the SBA has approved more than 7,000 disaster loans, totaling more than $285 million. Businesses, individuals and nonprofits are all eligible for the low-interest loans.

While the deadline to apply for loans to mitigate physical damage is set for Dec. 13, businesses and nonprofits may also apply for economic injury loans by June 14, 2019.

Businesses and nonprofits may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery, equipment and inventory damaged or destroyed during Florence. Disaster loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair their properties, and homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

According to an SBA press release, interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

To be considered for loans, applicants must be registered with FEMA. To do so, visit www.disasterassistance.gov, call 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for TTY. Applications are also available via the FEMA Mobile App. To apply for an SBA loan, or for more information, visit www.disasterloan.sba.gov, call 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/TDD.