If you receive a low interest loan application in the mail from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) after applying to FEMA, don't throw it out. The application is the portal to the disaster assistance you need.

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According to S.B.A Public Affairs Specialist Mark Jamison with the Disaster Division, most people who file an initial claim with FEMA will be referred to the SBA first.

He says "because in times of disaster, the SBA loans people money for not only their business losses and economic injury but also for their home as well as their personal property losses."

Jamison says even if you don't want a loan or feel you can't afford a loan, you should apply, "because for homeowners and people who are renters and who have personal property damage, in some cases we may be able to refer you back to FEMA for additional eligibility in some of their programs but until you go through the process of applying to the SBA for your home or personal property losses, we can't make that determination and possibly refer you back to FEMA."

Davies says loans of up to $200,000 are available to eligible homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters may apply for loans of up to $40,000 for personal property losses, including cars.

The SBA also adds that business and non-profit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets that are not fully covered by insurance.

Jamison says most homeowners and renters could quality for a 1.688 percent fixed rate loan that has terms of up to 30 years and having a previous or current SBA loan won't necessarily disqualify you from participation. Interest rates for businesses and non-profits are 4 percent.

However, you need to apply by the December 31st deadline. You can apply online at or applications can be downloaded from the SBA website. For more information, call 800-659-2955 or for TTY, call 800-877-8339.