SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - The Scotch Plains Office of Emergency Management sponsored a meeting on Wednesday evening for local business owners to learn what avenues of assistance were available to recover losses from Hurricane Sandy.

Representatives from both FEMA and The Small Business Administration (SBA) gave small presentations with specific details on how to apply for assistance to a very small audience.  

The FEMA presentation emphasized that it was important for both businesses and home owners to first register at one of the Disaster Recovery Centers.  The closest one is located in Plainfield at 400 E. Front Street.   The second center is located in Linden at 330 Helen Street, and will be operating from 9 am to 7 pm 7 days a week.

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“Once paperwork is filed, it is then possible to apply to the Small Business Administration for a loan to fill the financial gap between what insurance pays out and the actual amount of loss,” said Jessica Paul, Public Affairs Specialist for the SBA.

The SBA is offering  low-interest federal disaster loans to New Jersey residents (homeowners or renters), businesses of all sizes, and private nonprofit organizations impacted by Hurricane Sandy. These loans are NOT JUST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES.

These loans are for losses that are not covered by insurance or are underinsured with rates as low as 1.688% for residents, 4% for businesses, 3% for private and non-profit organizations.

In addition to physical damage losses, small businesses and most non-profits can obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). Even if they did not have physical losses, they can apply for EIDL only loans to cover lost income.

“It’s important to file now, as the deadline is December 31st,” said Paul  “ Don’t wait for any insurance claims to settle.  If we approve the loan for the full amount and the insurance eventually settles for a smaller sum, this will be used to offset the loan.  There is no cost to apply, and no obligation to take the loan if approved.”

The maximum business disaster loan is $2 million, for any combination of physical property losses and working capital needs, and there are three ways to apply.

1. Apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center or Business Recovery Center

2. Apply online using SBA’s secure Web site at  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela     

3. Apply by mailing your application to SBA at 14925 Kingsport Rd., Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243

SBA disaster representatives are at the Disaster Recovery Centers and the Business Recovery Centers meet individually with New Jersey residents and business owners, explain how an SBA low-interest disaster loan can help pay for their disaster losses, answer questions, and help each individual complete their application.

Anyone can get questions answered and/or check current center locations & hours by calling SBA Customer Service Center at-  (800) 659-2955

or can go online at:

http://www.sba.gov/content/new-jersey-hurricane-sandy-disaster-declaration-13367-0