Applying for Federal Disaster Assistance


Applying for Federal Disaster Assistance

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Applying for federal disaster assistance for this spring’s severe storms in Arkansas is a two-step process. Taking both steps ensures disaster survivors will be considered for all FEMA grants and the U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan.

Step 1: Register with FEMA.

Step 2: Complete and submit a no-obligation SBA loan application.

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

There are no loan costs associated with taking out a loan and no obligation to accept it if approved. If the loan is not approved, the applicant will be referred back to FEMA for other forms of assistance.

However, if the loan is approved and the applicant doesn’t accept it, the applicant will be ineligible for federal disaster assistance from SBA and any additional assistance from FEMA beyond grants based on getting a disaster survivor into a safe, secure and functioning home.

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

Low-interest disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage, but if property damage is included, the total may not exceed $2 million.

Residents are encouraged to apply for federal disaster aid even if they have insurance and have applied for or received assistance under other recent federal disaster declarations. Once insurance is paid, applicants may provide that information to FEMA for additional consideration.

Additional information on registering with FEMA as well as help completing an SBA loan application is available at any state/federal disaster recovery center. To find the nearest recovery center, go online to

Register with FEMA at or by phone (voice, 711 or video relay service) at 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585. Toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week and multilingual operators are available.

SBA applications are available online at Contact SBA at 800-659-2955, by email to or meet with an SBA representative at a Disaster Recovery Center. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

For updates on the Arkansas response and recovery, follow the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (@AR_Emergencies) on Twitter and Facebook and Additional information is available at


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About Todd De Voe 81 Articles
Involved in Emergency Response, Emergency Management, Education and Volunteer Management for over 25 years.Served as a Corpsman assigned to the Fleet Marine Force of the United States Navy. I now teach Emergency Management at Coastline Community College, I am also the Host of EM Weekly.

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