Small business owners must reapply for federal disaster loans

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Business owners who have applied for federal disaster loans are being told they must reapply, officials said.

The US Small Business Administration confirmed on Wednesday that applicants for its economic disaster loans should reapply using a revamped website, covid19relief.sba.gov/#/which launched earlier this week, according to Matt Coleman, spokesperson for the agency’s Region II, which includes New York State.

He said all business owners must reapply, including those who submitted loan applications by email, fax and postal mail, as well as through an online application portal that was disabled the last week due to security concerns.

The new process involves completing a brief online application and waiting for the SBA to request financial documents about the company.

“Confirmation is sent via US Mail, and applicants also receive email correspondence,” Coleman said. “Additional information may be requested, but they receive a confirmation of the request first.”

The process is streamlined from the one instituted last week after the SBA learned that the personal information of about 100 business owners was exposed when they used a now-disabled online portal.

Once the portal was closed, applicants were asked to download the PDF files of the application forms and, when completed, upload them to the SBA website via a BOX widget. They could also submit the forms by e-mail, fax and regular mail.

By reapplying for a disaster loan, business owners “ensure they’re considered for a $10,000 advance” on the loan, “which doesn’t have to be repaid,” Coleman said. He stated that the receipt of the advance was not conditional on the approval of the applicant’s loan application.

Disaster loans can be up to $2 million per applicant and can be repaid over up to 30 years. To qualify, a business must have 500 or fewer employees. The interest rate is 3.75%.

The loans are also intended for private non-profit organizations with an interest rate of 2.75%.

More information is available at sba.gov/disaster. The deadline to apply is December 21.

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