Only one week left for Virginia hurricane survivors to apply to FEMA, SBA

December 27, 2016  //  

Only one week left for Virginia hurricane survivors to apply to FEMA, SBA

Virginia Beach, Va. – Survivors have one week left to apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and to submit applications for low-interest disaster loans to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Virginia survivors eligible for federal assistance, impacted by Hurricane Matthew have until Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, to file their applications.

More than two months after President Obama signed the Nov. 2 disaster declaration making Virginia residents in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach eligible for federal assistance, 5,108 households have applied to FEMA for help.

Storm survivors in the seven designated cities have been approved for FEMA grants under the Individuals and Households program totaling more than $8.6 million to date, while SBA has approved 358 loans to homeowners, renters and businesses totaling more than $12 million.

Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement and disaster-related needs. Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and state programs. You do not have to repay grants to the federal government.

Registering with FEMA is the first step in qualifying for assistance. Jan. 3, 2017, is the last day for survivors to file an application. FEMA encourages all survivors who sustained disaster-related damage or losses to apply by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or online at The toll-free lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week, until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.

The SBA, one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans may cover repairs, rebuilding, as well as the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.

For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, email, or visit TTY users may call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at The deadline to file an SBA physical disaster loan application is Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

You are not required to accept a loan even if you qualify for one.

If SBA determines you are not eligible for a home loan, it will refer you back to FEMA. This could make you eligible for more FEMA aid.

If SBA approves your loan application, you may be eligible to borrow additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples include relocation and elevation of utilities and installing retaining walls and sump pumps. Applicants may be eligible for an SBA loan increase for mitigation purposes of up to 20 percent of their physical damages.

Survivors with application questions or those who have not yet registered for assistance may call the FEMA toll-free help line (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362. (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or visit The lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Virginia homeowners and renters who have registered for disaster assistance with FEMA are encouraged by recovery officials to “stay in touch.” If survivors change their address or phone numbers, they should update that information with FEMA. Missing or erroneous information could result in delays getting a home inspection or in receiving assistance.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards. 

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or video relay service). TTY users can call 800-462-7585. 

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long term rebuilding and recovery. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and can cover the cost of replacing losses of disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund