Emergency Management

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance

Through its Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA), SBA provides low-interest, long-term loans for physical and economic damage caused by a declared disaster. SBA offers home and personal property loans, business physical disaster loans, and economic injury disaster loans.

SBA provides their low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, along with inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

There are five ways in which disaster declarations are issued which make SBA disaster loans possible:

  • The President declares a major disaster, or declares an emergency, and authorizes federal assistance, including individual assistance.
  • If the President declares a major disaster limited to public assistance only, a private nonprofit facility which provides non-critical services under guidelines of FEMA must first apply to SBA for disaster loan assistance for such non-critical services before it could seek grant assistance from FEMA.
  • SBA makes a physical disaster declaration, based on the occurrence of at least a minimum amount of physical damage to buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory, homes, and other property. Such damage usually must meet the following:
    • In any county or other smaller political subdivision of a state or U.S. possession, at least 25 homes or 25 businesses, or a combination of at least 25 homes, businesses, or other eligible institutions, each sustain uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of the estimated fair replacement value or pre-disaster fair market value of the damaged property, whichever is lower; or
    • In any such political subdivision, at least three businesses each sustain uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of the estimated fair replacement value or pre-disaster fair market value of the damaged property, whichever is lower, and, as a direct result of such physical damage, 25 percent or more of the work force in their community would be unemployed for at least 90 days.
  • SBA makes an economic injury disaster declaration in response to a determination of a natural disaster by the Secretary of Agriculture.
  • SBA makes an economic injury declaration in reliance on a state certification that at least five small business concerns in a disaster area have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster and are in need of financial assistance not otherwise available on reasonable terms. The state certification must be signed by the Governor, must specify the county or counties or other political subdivision in which the disaster occurred, and must be delivered with supporting documentation to the Disaster Assistance Field Operations Center serving the jurisdiction within 120 days of the disaster occurrence.

SBA publishes notice of any disaster declaration in the Federal Register. The published notice will identify the kinds of assistance available, the date, the nature of the disaster, and the location for filing loan applications, along with the deadline.

Policy is subject to change. For the most up to date data, please visit: How are disaster declarations made?

Additional Information

Disaster Loan Program

Types of Disaster Loans

Disaster Loan Fact Sheets



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