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Small business owners must reapply for federal disaster loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration confirmed Monday that applicants for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program can resume filling out and submitting applications via the web portal, after being shut down last week because of security issues. Credit: Newsday / James T. Madore

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

The U.S. Small Business Administration confirmed Wednesday that applicants for its Economic Injury Disaster Loans should reapply using a revamped website, covid19relief.sba.gov/#/, which launched earlier this week, according to Matt Coleman, a spokesman for the agency’s Region II, which includes New York State.

He said all business owners need to reapply, including those who submitted loan applications via email, fax and snail mail, as well as through an online application portal that was disabled last week because of security concerns.

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

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

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

With the portal shut down, applicants were told to download PDFs of the application forms and upon completion upload them to the SBA website via a BOX widget. They also could submit  the forms via email, fax and postal mail.

By reapplying for a disaster loan, business owners “ensure they are considered for an advance of $10,000” on the loan, "which does not have to be repaid," Coleman said. He said receiving the advance is not contingent on the applicant's loan application being approved. 

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

The loans also are for private nonprofits with an interest rate of 2.75%.

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

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