Business Recovery Assistance


  • A major factor in your business resumption and continuity decisions is the type of business recovery assistance you can expect to receive.
  • In addition to any insurance you might have, you may be eligible for federal, state or local government assistance if a disaster declaration is made.
  • Assistance is invariably in the form of loans, and only an option after you have exhausted attempts to secure them from conventional lenders.
  • Small businesses usually are not eligible for financial assistance from FEMA, the Red Cross or other disaster assistance organizations.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a disaster declaration and who makes it?

Before recovery assistance can be requested, the local government must declare a local "state of emergency". Once a declaration has been made, state, local and federal damage assessment teams will survey the damage in the area. The assessment team will verify the extent of the damage and provide supporting documents to help substantiate the request for aid by the local government. If it is determined that in addition to state and local resources, federal assistance is necessary, the Governor will request a Presidential Disaster Declaration. If the damages are less extensive the Governor can ask for an SBA declaration. When the Governor's request for assistance is received, a survey of the damaged area(s) is conducted with State and local officials, and the results are submitted to the Administrator for a decision. SBA will make a physical disaster declaration when at least 25 businesses in a county have uninsured losses of 40% or more or at least three businesses have uninsured loss of 40% or more and 25% of the work force in the community would be unemployed for at least 90 days. SBA will make an economic injury disaster declaration when the Governor certifies that at least five small businesses 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.

What types of financial assistance will I be eligible for and who should I contact to find out exactly what I can expect?

Once the proper declarations have been made, various types of federal and state financial assistance is available for both individuals and businesses. FEMA, in coordination with local and state agencies, as well as other not-for-profit organizations, will provide disaster relief other than financial to businesses after an event. Once a Presidential Declaration has been made, the following assistance may be available:

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration provides Physical Disaster Business Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Small Business. For more information:
  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), through its Post-Disaster Response Program, provides revolving loan fund grants to public and nonprofit organizations to provide loans to businesses in support of the economic recovery strategy.
  • The Rural Housing and Community Development Service provides various types of assistance, including technical assistance and payments covering a major portion of the cost to eligible farmers who perform emergency conservation actions on disaster damaged farmland.
  • Excise Tax Relief: Businesses may file claims with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for payment of Federal excise taxes paid on alcoholic beverages or tobacco products lost, rendered unmarketable or condemned by a duly authorized official under various circumstances, including when the President has declared a major disaster.
What kind of assistance is available other than financial?
The American Red Cross and The Service Corps of Retired Executive (S.C.O.R.E.) both provide counseling and other non-financial services.


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