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SBA reopens online applications for 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

The online portal for business owners to apply for coronavirus disaster loans is again functioning after being shut down last week because of security issues.

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.

“The site is streamlined, much cleaner and easier for applicants to use,” said Matt Coleman, a spokesman for the agency’s Region II, which includes New York State. “You don’t have to download anything. You can apply online.”

Since the middle of last week, business owners have downloaded PDFs of the application forms and upon completion uploaded them to the SBA website via a BOX widget. They also have made submissions via email, fax and postal mail.

The multistep process was instituted on March 25 after SBA disabled the online portal upon learning that the personal information of about 100 business owners was exposed to other owners as they applied for disaster loans. The exposed information included names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

SBA has notified the affected applicants and offered free credit monitoring for one year.

The glitch occurred as thousands of business owners sought money to survive the coronavirus pandemic. SBA said last week it has seen “a surge of applications from Long Island.”

The revamped application portal may be found at covid19relief.sba.gov/#/.

Besides the web portal, completed loan applications may be emailed to disasterloans@sba.gov, faxed to 202-481-1505 or sent via postal mail to the U.S. Small Business Administration Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Rd., Fort Worth, Texas 76155.

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 and be unable to secure other financing to keep operating. The interest rate is 3.75%.

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

More information is available by calling 800-659-2955. The deadline to apply is Dec. 21.

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