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Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab
Read this in: Spanish / Español

Hurricane IDA

As a result of the impacts of Hurricane Ida, federal economic assistance is available to businesses, homeowners, and renters in the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.

Important Information Before You Apply

  • These loans are available to homeowners, renters, and business owners. Owning a business is not a requirement.
  • They MUST be paid back. 
  • An SBA loan can affect your eligibility for other FEMA programs. 

SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters, they include:

  • Business Physical Disaster Loans 
  • Home Disaster Loans
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

Business Physical Disaster Loans

Business physical disaster loans may be used for repairs and replacements to real property, machinery, equipment, fixtures, inventory, and leasehold improvements that are not covered or fully covered by insurance. They may also be used to mitigate against future damage with improvements, such as grading or contouring of land, relocating or elevating utilities or mechanical equipment, building retaining walls, etc.

Home Disaster Loans

Homeowners and renters may apply to the SBA for loans to help recover uninsured and underinsured losses from a disaster. Homeowners may apply for a real property loan to repair or restore their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition, to protect the damaged property from a similar disaster in the future, and to make upgrades and changes required by city building codes. Renters and homeowners may also apply for a personal property loan to repair or restore personal property items, including automobiles, furniture, or clothing, damaged or lost in a disaster.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

Small businesses that do not have Credit Available Elsewhere and are unable to meet ordinary and necessary financial obligations due to the disaster are eligible for an EIDL. EIDL proceeds may only be used for working capital necessary to enable the business or organization to alleviate the specific economic injury caused by the disaster and to resume normal operations.


The deadline to apply for a physical disaster loan expired on October 28, 2021; however; the deadline to apply for an economic injury loan is May 31, 2022.

I Was Referred to the Small Business Administration

After you apply for disaster assistance, you may receive a letter from FEMA referring you to SBA. Submitting an SBA disaster loan application is a necessary step to being considered for other forms of disaster assistance. You do not have to accept the loan, and it is free to apply. If you are approved for the loan and turn it down, you have six months to change your mind and re-activate the application if you discover additional damage or if your insurance settlement is not enough to cover your repairs.

Why was I referred to the SBA?

To meet the needs of disaster survivors, FEMA partners with other agencies. SBA disaster loans are intended to help cover the cost of damages and losses not covered by insurance or funding from FEMA for both personal and business. Since the FEMA Individuals and Households Program does not provide grant assistance to businesses, or rental properties that are not occupied by the owner as a primary residence, FEMA applications of this type are automatically referred to the SBA for disaster loan consideration. 

What if I cannot pay back a loan?

Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. If SBA finds that you cannot afford a loan, they will automatically refer you to FEMA’s Individuals and Households program. Your file will be reviewed to determine if you qualify for additional grant assistance.

Can I apply for an SBA disaster loan for my rental property? 

Secondary homes or vacation properties are not eligible for these loans. However, qualified rental properties may be eligible for assistance under the SBA business disaster loan program.

I was denied an SBA disaster loan, what now?

If your disaster loan application was denied by the SBA you can appeal this decision. If you do decide to appeal your SBA disaster loan decline, then you’ll need to submit your request for reconsideration to an SBA Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center (DAPDC) within six months of receiving your original denial. If six months have already passed since your initial application for an SBA disaster loan was denied, you’ll need to submit a whole new application.

Note: Your appeal request should contain documentation of the information that has led you to attempt to appeal the denial. You’ll also need to provide updated and more recent business financial statements with your appeal.

What if my SBA disaster loan appeal is denied? 

Should your appeal itself be denied, then the next step would be to appeal directly with the Director of the DAPDC. If you continue to this secondary appeal process, it’s important to be aware that—more often than not—the DAPDC Director’s decision is final.


Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

Key aspects to business physical disaster loans:

  • The maximum loan amount is $2 million, which may be waived if a business is a major source of employment
  • Mitigation loan amount may not exceed 20% of the verified loss amount
  • Interest rates depend on whether the applicant is a for-profit or non-profit organization and whether it has Credit Available Elsewhere
    • Businesses with Credit Available Elsewhere – 2.855%
    • Businesses without Credit Available Elsewhere – 5.710%
    • Non-Profit Organizations regardless of Credit Available Elsewhere – 2.000
  • The maximum loan term is 30 years
  • Collateral is generally required for loans in excess of $25,000

Key aspects for economic injury disaster loans:

  • Businesses may receive an EIDL and a business physical disaster loan
  • The maximum loan amount is $2 million, including any amount received under a physical disaster loan
  • Interest rates depend on whether the small business is a for-profit or non-profit organization
    • Businesses and Small Agricultural Cooperatives – 2.855%
    • Non-Profit Organizations – 2.000%
  • The maximum loan term is 30 years
  • Collateral is generally required for loans in excess of $25,000
  • Loss of anticipated profits or a drop in sales is not considered economic injury for an EIDL

Home Disaster Loans

If you are in a declared disaster area and have experienced damage to your home or personal property, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the SBA — even if you do not own a business. As a homeowner, renter, and/or personal property owner, you may apply to the SBA for a loan to help you recover from a disaster. You can apply online for an SBA disaster assistance loan. SBA will send an inspector to estimate the cost of your damage once you have completed and returned your loan application.

You must submit the completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS Form 4506-C giving permission for the IRS to provide SBA your tax return information.

Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to replace or repair their primary residence. The loans may not be used to upgrade homes or make additions unless required by the local building code. If you make improvements that help prevent the risk of future property damage caused by a similar disaster, you may be eligible for up to a 20 percent loan amount increase above the real estate damage, as verified by the SBA.

In some cases, SBA can refinance all or part of a previous mortgage when the applicant does not have credit available elsewhere and has suffered substantial disaster damage not covered by insurance.

Key aspects to home disaster loans: 

  • Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property
  • Mitigation loan amount may not exceed 20% of the verified loss amount
  • Interest rates depend on whether the applicant has Credit Available Elsewhere
    • Individual with Credit Available Elsewhere – 3.125%
    • Individual without Credit Available Elsewhere – 2.855%
  • The maximum loan term is 30 years
  • Collateral is generally required for loans above $25,000
  • Loan proceeds may not be used to repay any debts on personal property, secured or unsecured unless an individual incurred the debt as a direct result of the disaster
  • Homeowners and renters must register with FEMA
Last Review and Update: Nov 11, 2021
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