Residents and businesses in New Jersey affected by Super storm Sandy are being reminded about another opportunity to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration. 

Photo by Jacob Wackerhausen/ThinkStock

The new deadline to submit applications for physical damage and economic loss is Dec. 1, 2016. The reopening of the filing period comes after recent approval of Recovery Improvements for Small Entities (RISE) After Disaster Act of 2015, according to Louise Porter, Public Affairs Specialist with the SBA.

"What this means is, if you are a small business, a non-profit organization, homeowner, or renter at the time of Hurricane Sandy, you can apply. If you have disaster-related losses, or disaster-related losses that were not covered by insurance, you can apply. If you have an existing disaster loan for Super storm Sandy and you have additional losses, you can apply," said Porter.

Porter emphasized the goal of the loan program is to bring people people back to were there were prior to Sandy.

"If people have damages that they feel have not been adequately covered by other sources or maybe they thought their insurance was going to cover them more, and they found that they have a shortfall, this would be an opportunity for them to take advantage of this program," Porter said.

Applying is free and Porter stressed, applicants who are approved for a low-interest loan are not required to accept any funds.

"The rates are as low as 1.688, and they're determined at the time of processing. The rates are set by Congress at the time of the disaster," said Porter.

Loan calculations take into consideration a person's entire financial situation, as well as their damages, and are decided on a case by case basis, according to Porter.

Credit history and reports, tax documents, deeds, and payment ability are examined thoroughly to help prevent fraud, Porter noted.

"The goal is to have a decision within 20 days of submitting the application," added Porter.

SBA's customer service representatives can provide one-on-one assistance and are available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Centers located in Atlantic, Ocean, Monmouth and Bergen Counties, that are open Monday through Friday. Daytime hours vary between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the centers: Atlantic City, 1301 Bacharach Boulevard; Berkeley Township, Miller Airpark, Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management, County Road 530 at Mule Road; Freehold, Monmouth County Emergency Operations Center, 300 Halls Mills Road; Mahwah, Bergen County Office of Emergency Management, 285 Campgaw Road.

Applicants can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure website at https://www.sba.gov/content/apply-disaster-loan, or by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications also can be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be returned to the centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX, 76155.