Hurricane Matthew disaster assistance is now available

Small businesses, most nonprofits, individuals can get federal disaster help

Homeowners, renters and business owners in Nassau County may now apply for federal disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damages and losses resulting from Hurricane Matthew, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency news release issued Wednesday.

Nassau County had earlier received a designation for public assistance.

To be eligible for federal aid under FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, storm damage and losses from the hurricane and flooding beginning on Oct. 3 must have occurred as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

Survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA as soon as possible. If you preregistered with FEMA, you do not have to apply again. If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register:

•Online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or

•On the FEMA Mobile App, or by

•Calling (800) 621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call (800) 621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call (800) 462-7585.

•The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

•Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).

Assistance for eligible survivors can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.

Long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Survivors should contact their insurance company to file their insurance claim. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, those without insurance or those who may be underinsured may still receive help.

In an earlier news release, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance announced that small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Nassau County affected by Hurricane Matthew are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

“If you are in a declared disaster area and have suffered economic injury regardless of physical damage, you may qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL),” according to the SBA’s disaster loans website.

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

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. 

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

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

Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.563 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may now include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955, or (800) 877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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