Even though the U.S. Small Business Administration closed its disaster outreach center this Thursday, the department will continue to assist Ellis County residents to apply for disaster loans online until December.

SBA financial assistance was issued to Tarrant, Sutton and Ellis counties on Oct. 23 in response to severe weather that struck the counties between Sept. 21-23. In response to these weather conditions, SBA opened an outreach center in Oak Leaf City Hall at 301 Locust Drive to assist residents in their applications for disaster loans.

The outreach center closed on Thursday, Nov. 8. But while in-person applications are no longer being accepted, field operations specialist Linda Lamphear said residents can still apply online until Dec. 17.

“It’s very simple,” Lamphear remarked. “We just do it here because it’s easier for everybody else to come in, and we just do it and they’re done.”

According to a fact sheet, up to $200,000 is available in assistance to repair or replace property damage for individuals and families, while up to $2 million is available for small businesses. The three types of loans made available to applicants are physical disaster loans, economic injury loans and home disaster loans.

Application requirements include credit history, repayment options and collateral, which will be required for loans over $25,000. Lamphear said the application would also need the resident’s social security number for any application.

“When they register themselves online, they’re going to create a username and a password,” Lamphear outlined. “Those two items they’ll have to remember because they need them to go back into their file to check the status.”

According to the fact sheet, interest rates range from two percent to 7.35 percent, depending on the application and the credit available. The loan terms are authorized to a maximum of 30 years, and installation payments are based upon the borrower’s repayment ability.

“If they have a business, they are required to upload their federal tax returns,” Lamphear explained. “They’re going to have to scan those into the computer, so they’re able to upload and submit it.”

If they don’t submit their tax returns electronically, Lamphear explained that applicants could also mail or fax them in, whichever is preferred. Applicants may also use the disaster loan to relocate if they so choose.

In the event of a homestead, Lamphear cautioned that the application might be slightly different.

“If they’re going to go over the $25,000 threshold, they need to not do any repairs or anything else, because they would subtract that from the dollar amount,” Lamphear explained.

For applicants who are filing jointly such as couples, she said the online application might be more convenient for them if they don’t have all of the personal information they need on-hand.

“Once they hit the ‘submit’ button, if there’s something lacking, they can go back into their application and see what’s missing,” Lamphear said.

“Everything they do at home, we do here,” she reiterated. “It’s the exact same process. The only difference is if they run into any glitches at home, they can call the customer service number and they can walk them through the process as well.”

The deadline to apply online is Dec. 17, while the deadline for businesses to apply for economic injury is July 18, 2019. To apply, go online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. If any technical issues arise during your application, call customer service at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.


David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX