Wildfires, Hurricanes, COVID-19 and SBA Disaster Loans

Wildfires, Hurricanes, COVID-19 and SBA Disaster Loans

Wildfires, Hurricanes, COVID-19 and SBA Disaster Loans

2020 has been nothing if not challenging for small businesses. Between COVID-19, riots, hurricanes, flooding, and the California wildfires, small businesses have had a lot to overcome this year. Including the economic disaster caused by the coronavirus, as of this writing  50 disasters of one kind or another have been declared in the United States so far in 2020. In response to these disasters, the SBA offers disaster loans to those business impacted.

With the exception of disaster assistance, the SBA doesn’t typically make direct loans to businesses. The SBA disaster loan program is the main federal assistance they offer to repair and rebuild non-fam, private sector disaster losses. These loans are offered to businesses of all sizes as well as non-profits and offer up to $2 million to repair or replace the following: 

  • Damaged or destroyed real estate
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Inventory and other business assets

And in the case of the EIDL, to mitigate the economic losses caused by the coronavirus.

In some cases, the SBA may even be able to refinance all or part of a mortgage or lien as well as increase the loan amount an additional 20% of the confirmed physical losses.

Disaster Loans to Mitigate Damage from Natural Disasters

At this writing, Hurricane Laura is battering the United States Gulf Coast and wildfires ravage California. Businesses seeking disaster relief in a declared disaster area must have physical damage or have suffered economic harm within the county where the disaster has been declared.

Disaster Areas are Usually Designated by County

With the notable exception of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) associated with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 (which universally applied to every county in the United States), most disaster areas are designated by county. Before you apply, make sure the county where you do business is included within the designated disaster area.

How to Apply for an SBA Disaster Loan

Disaster loans are not offered by participating SBA lenders, but come directly from the SBA. To apply for a disaster loan with the SBA, you may apply online using the SBA’s Disaster Loan Application, or you can apply directly to the SBA from your DisasterAssistance.Gov account:

  1. Create or log in to your account
  2. On the “Status” tab, find the section for “Other Government Agencies”
  3. On the line for SBA, under the “Application Status” column, click “Apply”

If you’ve already applied for disaster relief with FEMA, your application can be transferred to the SBA.

If you’d like one-on-one help with your SBA disaster loan application, contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-877-8339 or email disaster customerservice@sba.gov.

This article was originally written on August 27, 2020 and updated on October 19, 2020.

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