Disaster recovery experts today urged applicants for federal assistance to complete a disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Taking a loan is not required; completing the application can open the door to all federal assistance, including possible additional grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If approved, and a survivor does not accept the loan, it may make them ineligible for additional federal assistance.

Many Texans who register for disaster assistance with FEMA will receive an automated call from SBA with information on how to complete the loan application process. These low-interest SBA loans are the major source of funding for disaster recovery.

SBA provides low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes (including landlords) and to homeowners, renters and eligible private nonprofit organizations that sustained disaster damage. There is no cost to apply for a loan.

Assistance from FEMA is limited to help jump-start the recovery; it may not cover all damage or property loss. Completing the SBA loan application may make FEMA assistance available to replace essential household items, replace or repair a damaged vehicle, or pay for storage costs.

Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.813 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.

  • Eligible homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 for home repair or replacement of primary residences, and eligible homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property, including a vehicle.
  • Businesses of all sizes can qualify for up to $2 million in low-interest loans to help cover physical damages.
  • Small businesses and most private nonprofits suffering economic impact due to the severe weather and flooding can apply for up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury under SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are available online at SBA.gov/disaster, from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955 or emailingDisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call 800-877-8339. Meet with an SBA representative at a Disaster Recovery Center to learn more about disaster loans, the application process or for help completing an SBA application.

Completed applications should be mailed to:

U.S. Small Business Administration

Processing and Disbursement Center

14925 Kingsport Road

Fort Worth, TX  76155

People with storm losses, who still need to register with FEMA, can go online anytime at

DisasterAssistance.gov. Survivors also can register with FEMA by phone (voice, 711 or video relay service) at 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585. The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Federal disaster assistance is available to residents of Erath, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hood, Jasper, Limestone, Marion, Newton, Orange, Parker, Shelby and Tylercounties that suffered damage in the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, March 7-29.