The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it is extending its deadline for Florida small business owners and residents to apply for federal disaster recovery loans to January 12, 2023. Loan money can be used for repairs to physical property damage and to cover lost income that occurred from September 23 through November 4, 2022, related to Hurricane Ian.
The Hurricane Ian disaster declaration includes the following Florida counties:
- Palm Beach
- Saint Johns
Businesses in these counties are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the SBA.
Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA EIDLs:
- Indian River
- Saint Lucie
This article explains what you need to know about SBA disaster loans so you can decide whether getting one is the right move for your Florida small business.
What is an SBA disaster loan?
The Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster loans during times of crisis at a point of extreme need. Hurricane Ian certainly fits that description. These loans aim to help small businesses stay open and retain their property and other assets despite a disaster’s impact. These are not like standard working capital loans used to cover everyday expenses. Their sole purpose is to help small businesses recover from emergencies.
Who qualifies for SBA disaster loans?
SBA disaster loans are for small businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters experiencing financial hardship because of an extreme circumstance beyond their control, typically a catastrophe or disaster. Hurricane Ian is precisely that type of circumstance.
What can SBA disaster loan funds be used for?
The money from these loans can help cover a gap in insurance coverage or bridge the time until insurance claims can be processed, and funds distributed to impacted parties.
In situations like Hurricane Ian, where the damage caused by a disaster may not be covered by insurance, the SBA administers loans through its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
What is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program?
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides funding in the form of loans up to $2 million based on the needs of different small businesses and how a disaster impacts them. Repayment terms and interest rates are usually adjusted to meet the needs and ability of different companies to pay them back.
EIDL does not cover the physical injuries caused by a disaster. Instead, it pays for economic loss mitigation. Suppose your business sustained significant physical damage because of Hurricane Ian. In that case, the loan proceeds could pay for repairs, losses, and income lost during the disaster and rebuilding period.
Be aware that you may qualify for an EIDL even if your company wasn’t physically damaged by the hurricane but was closed because you, the people on your team, and customers can’t access your business property. In this case, the loan may cover business income lost because of Hurricane Ian.
Florida Governor DeSantis and the Biden administration worked together to declare the parts of Florida impacted by Ian as disaster areas so they could qualify for the SBA funds and other recovery benefits. The area became a declared disaster on September 24, 2022, before the storm hit the Tampa area to speed aid to the areas that the storm could potentially damage.
Are other types of loans available to help people and businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian?
Yes. Two other types of assistance programs people in the state of Florida could qualify for are:
- Home Disaster Loans are loans made to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.
- Business Physical Disaster Loans are loans made to small business owners to repair or replace hurricane-damaged property owned by Florida businesses. Property could include real estate, inventory, supplies, machinery, and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., can also qualify for this form of government financing.
How do I get approved for an SBA disaster loan?
The Small Business Administration or a lender affiliated with it will perform a routine credit check to ensure you qualify against the SBA’s credit score requirements. Like any loan, the lender assumes a risk, and credit checks help lenders control those risks.
Is it hard to qualify for an SBA disaster loan?
There is no set minimum credit score you need for disaster loan eligibility. However, the SBA usually wants a credit score of 620 to 650 or higher. You might still qualify for a disaster loan if yours isn’t that high.
What information will I need to apply for a disaster loan?
To complete the disaster loan application, you will need several pieces of information about your business, including:
- The legal and trade names of your company
- Your Federal EIN or Social Security number
- The date your business was founded
- The number of employees you have
- A personal financial statement
- Schedule of liabilities
- Your most recent federal tax return
- Relevant business insurance policy information.
There may be additional information you will need to confirm as part of the application process. Be sure to read the guidelines before submitting.
How long does it take to get approved for an SBA disaster loan?
These applications are typically expedited, and you can usually be approved for financing within two weeks.
How can I get help with a Florida disaster loan?
You can speak with a Small Business Administration representative at 800‐659‐2955 if you have any questions. You can also visit the Small Business Administration website (SBA.gov.) You can email your question to the SBA customer service center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Certain Florida Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery Centers may be able to help you out, as well. America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) often publish information related to disaster loans. However, it may make more sense to work with the experts at Biz2Credit. They can help you with your application to ensure you receive all the funding you’re entitled to.