Top Five Things to Know About SBA Disaster Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest, long-term disaster relief loans to business owners through its Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA). Several types of loans offered help cover costs of physical damage as well as economic injury.

  Who can qualify for an SBA loan?

  To qualify for any of the ODA loans, a business or home must be located within a declared disaster area. Home and personal property recovery loans are also available, even in some cases to non-business owners.

Interests rates on the loans will not exceed four percent if the business does not already have credit elsewhere. Repayment schedules can take up to 30 years.

Businesses of all sizes are eligible

Businesses, and private nonprofit organziations of all sizes may apply for a physical disaster loan up to $2 million. The loans are intended to help repair the costs of damaged property including real estate, facilities, and equipment, and to help prepare the business against similar disasters in the future.

Can loan amounts be increased?

SBA evaluators may increase the amount of the loan up to twenty percent of the total damage to help cover the cost of preparing and protecting against future disasters.

Economic assistance loans offset damage to local economies

In addition, economic assistance loans up to $2 million are available to help alleviate the economic injury caused by the disaster. These funds are meant to help cover the expenses the business would have made in the normal course of operations had the disaster not occurred.

Working capital economic assistance loans are available even to businesses in the disaster area that were not themselves damaged.

How can a busines owner apply?

Business owners can apply directly to the SBA. Online applications are available at Applications should include a signed and dated IRS 8821 form as well as relevant business records.

In many cases, business owners receive approval information from the SBA in about 18 days.