Financial Help After a Disaster for Older Georgians
Authored By: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Agencies on Aging, Small Business Administration
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR OLDER PERSONS
THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
THE ADMINISTRATION ON AGING
If you are an older person who has been affected by a
disaster, health problems or a limited income may make
it more difficult for you to recover. Three Federal
agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and
the Administration on Aging (AoA) are working together
to assist you.
After a disaster strikes, you must: (1) register with
FEMA; and (2) find out about services that may be
available to you. Two critical programs include the
SBA's low-interest, long-term loan program for
homeowners and renters and the FEMA/State Individual
and Family Grant (IFG) Program which awards grants
that do not have to be repaid. If you do not register
with FEMA, you will not be eligible to receive these
After your emergency needs are met, a SBA disaster
loan is the basic form of Federal assistance to
restore your home and personal property to its
pre-disaster condition. SBA loans funds for the repair
and rebuilding costs which are not fully covered by
insurance and other disaster recovery programs. If SBA
declines your loan application, you may be referred to
the IFG Program for possible grant assistance. The IFG
Program is a safety net available only to individuals
and families. It is intended to help meet essential
needs not met by other forms of assistance. You cannot
choose between a loan and a grant.
IMPORTANT...To receive an IFG Program grant, your
application must first be declined for an SBA loan.
Often, many older persons do not receive loans or
grants because they do not complete the required
process for financial assistance. You must act
immediately. These programs are available for only a
IMPORTANT... every State has a State aging agency and
usually local area agencies on aging which assist in
completing applications and obtaining services
locally. Additionally, if you need any assistance in
completing your SBA disaster loan application, SBA has
workshops open in the disaster affected areas that are
staffed with loan officers ready to answer your
questions and help you complete your application.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS REQUIRED?
First, call the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) and register for disaster assistance. Call FEMA
toll-free at 1-800-462-9029; 1-800-462-7585-TTY. If
you need financial assistance to recover and your
family income is minimal, you may be referred to the
IFG Program for possible grant assistance. If you have
more than a minimum income, you will be sent an
application for an SBA disaster loan.
Second, please complete and submit the SBA loan
application. If your loan application is declined, you
may be referred to the IFG Program for consideration.
However, please remember you can not be considered for
an IFG grant unless you complete the SBA loan
application. If you have questions or need help with
the loan application, call SBA at the number provided
in your application packet or call the FEMA toll-free
Teleregistration number listed above so that you can
speak to an SBA representative.
Third, if your application for an SBA loan, is
declined, you may be referred for an IFG Program
grant. This program is administered by your State and
is funded jointly by the Federal and State
governments. IFG Program assistance for
disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs
does not need to be repaid.
Homeowners can apply for SBA Loans up to $200,000 to
repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate,
and up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or
destroyed personal property.
Renters may apply for SBA Loans up to $40,000 to
repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal
Individuals, whose applications are declined by SBA
may receive an IFG Program grant to meet necessary
expenses and serious needs not met by any other form
Co-signers can be used for a SBA loan. If the amount
needed to recover from the disaster exceeds your
ability to repay, family members or other persons may
co-sign the loan application. Co-signers are equally
responsible for repayment of the loan.
Appeals are possible if you disagree with a decision
about a loan or grant. Contact your State or area
agency on aging for assistance in making your appeal.
Services such as transportation, clean-up assistance,
homemaker, handyman, nutrition and many others are
often available. Contact your State or area agency on
aging for assistance in obtaining these services.
Spread the Word! Older persons are often the last to
apply for disaster services. When time limitations
expire, needed services are no longer available. If
you know any older persons, who have been affected by
a disaster, urge them to register immediately with
FEMA and help them get the assistance they need!
WHO TO CONTACT FOR HELP
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY Register with FEMA or contact them for additional assistance, by calling:
For help with a loan application or for assistance, call the SBA number provided in the loan packet or call FEMA and ask to speak with an SBA representative at:
STATE OR AREA AGENCY ON AGING Check your local telephone book for your State or area agency on aging. If you cannot find the number you need, call the ELDERCARE LOCATOR, a nation-wide toll-free referral service at 1-800-677-1116.