SEVIERVILLE — Disaster survivors who were affected by the Sevier County wildfires and were referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration could lose some income-based FEMA grants if they don’t complete and submit SBA’s loan application.
FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance grants may cover uninsured losses for furniture, appliances and other essential personal property, even vehicles. Survivors will not be considered for this type of assistance unless they complete and return the SBA loan application. The information on the application is used to determine eligibility for income-based assistance.
Disaster survivors who were affected by the Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 wildfires in Sevier County are encouraged to register with FEMA and, if referred, complete and submit an SBA loan application, even if they don’t want a loan. Survivors should start the loan process as soon as possible.
SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.
Those who qualify for an SBA loan are under no obligation to accept it. If approved and the loan is not accepted, the survivor may be ineligible for additional federal assistance.
Insurance is a property owner’s first line of defense. FEMA grants may be available to cover uninsured or underinsured losses.
Survivors should submit an SBA loan application even if they are waiting for an insurance settlement. A survivor’s insurance policy may not cover all the replacement, repair and rebuilding costs. A disaster loan is available to cover the difference.
To repair or help rebuild a primary residence, a homeowner may borrow up to $ 200,000 from SBA. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $ 40,000 from SBA to replace personal property.
Businesses may borrow up to $ 2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury. SBA offers low-interest working capital loans (called Economic Injury Disaster Loans) to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes having difficulty meeting obligations as a result of the disaster.
n Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish).
n Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Help is available in most languages.
The filing deadline to return SBA loan applications for physical property damage is Feb. 13. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Sept. 15.
SBA customer service representatives are also available to answer questions, help complete loan applications and close loans at a business recovery center that opened Jan. 9 in Gatlinburg.
Location: Citizens National Bank Building
(Former United Way Office)
Hours: Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays: Closed.