The announcement that SBA Disaster Loan funds are available offers hope for assistance, but for operators who’ve never before applied, the process can appear intimidating. Nevertheless, it’s best to get the process started without delay to ensure that funds begin flowing in time to help your business.
SBA loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of a disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.
UMA Board Member Elizabeth Kamalakis of Coachlight Tours in Hardeeville, SC, got her application through last week and received confirmation from SBA that her application was received. “The good part to this was that we had called SBA in advance,” Kamalakis said, “and they gave us a heads up of what we had to do.”
If you’ve never worked with the SBA, you must first register, according to Kamalakis. “You go in and it says log in or set up a new account. So, we set up the account with all the paperwork and everything ready. We only had to log in and start filling it out.”
She urges loan applicants to pull together relevant data in advance so they’re ready to go. Any missing materials will be noted, and you will have seven days to add it in. Operators should first tally up and list lost revenue month-by-month. “It’s kind of hard to give that to them,” she said, “because you don’t know how long this is going to go.” She encourages those who apply to have all contracts on hand, know to know their insurance amounts and be prepared to provide a good bit of personal information.
Kamalakis opted to project out only for the next few months at this point. “You just take baby steps,” she said. If the economic fallout continues further out into the year, she will consider whether to go back and request more.
The whole process, she said, is self-explanatory, but it takes a while to get through it all. “We started at 11:00 a.m. and finished up by 4:15 p.m.,” she said. “During that period, it would bump us out and we had to refresh (our browser) to get back in.” She used the Chrome browser to for her application.
SBA says in addition to the application, the applicant should be ready to provide IRS Form 4506-T along with current information such as a personal financial statement, a schedule of liabilities and a copy of your most recently filed Federal income tax return. As well, more documents could be required. To apply go to https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. If you want to get started by registering with SBA and getting your log in and password, go to https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1.