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Moore About Business: Navigating the SBA EIDL application process after Hurricane Ian

It’s been four months since Hurricane Ian struck Southwest Florida with devastating force, causing billions of dollars of damage to our region’s residences and businesses.

While there are financial resources available through the Small Business Administration, and many residents and business owners have already received funds to help them through their personal and/or business recovery, there are also many like me, who are still navigating the process.

In my case, it is a process that is taking longer than anticipated. So, I want to share with you how my SBA loan application process is going, and hopefully it will encourage you to not give up and to continue with the process.

First, to apply for an SBA Hurricane Ian Economic Injury Disaster Loan (or EIDL), you must apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, financial assistance, whether or not you want or need to apply for FEMA. Now, with your profile in the FEMA system, you will go through the FEMA process, which is not very time-consuming. Even if you do not qualify for FEMA assistance, you can still be directed to apply for SBA funds for personal and/or business purposes.

Start the online Hurricane Ian EIDL application process at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. Paper applications can also be requested by calling the customer service number, 800-659-2955. It will take you a few hours to get through the application process. I found it more challenging than when applying for Hurricane Irma assistance. But when I needed help with the application, the telephone customer service department was very responsive. You may also reach out for assistance via email at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or at one of the local in-person SBA disaster recovery centers. You can find the DRC Locator at fema.gov.

I applied on 10/18/22 and received my ineligibility letter on 11/4. I immediately requested reconsideration via email on 11/16, including explanations and uploading all additional requested documents listed in the ineligibility letter.

I called on 11/30 to check the status of my reconsideration request. I was told the only problem was they could not see all four corners of the 4506-C form. So, I re-sent that on 11/30.

On about 12/4, I received a request for more information from the SBA. I uploaded these additional documents on 12/5.

On 12/19, I called and was told that all documents had been received and that the request was under review. I was also told that if I had not heard anything by 1/1/23 that I should call back. I did that and my application is "still pending," even though it is still listed as "denied" on the SBA website.

I have been told to be...patient. So hang in there and don’t lose hope.

If you have not applied for SBA assistance as yet, the final deadline to do so is Sunday February 26.

Publisher of SWFL Business Today