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Sandy-struck businesses get extension to apply for federal disaster aid

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Homes in Brick that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The deadline to register for federal disaster aid has been extended to April 1.
Homes in Brick that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The deadline to register for federal disaster aid has been extended to April 1. - (Aaron Houston / NJBIZ)

The Chris Christie administration announced today an extension of the deadline to apply for federal disaster aid as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

The original deadline to register for individual disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency was Friday, but that is now being pushed back to April 1, the governor's office said in an announcement this afternoon. The deadline extension applies for business, homeowner and renter registration with the Small Business Administration for disaster loan assistance.

The SBA had said this week that participation among businesses that experienced Sandy damage was unexpectedly low. The agency has issued some 172,000 loan applications to business and homeowners, but as of last week, had received only 25,722 completed applications. Of those completed applications, 7,565 have been approved, resulting in more than $515 million worth of loans.

"It's vitally important for people to know that the process of receiving any type of federal disaster assistance — including future grant assistance for homeowners and businesses — begins with registering as a disaster survivor with FEMA and working with a coordinator to determine eligibility for relief," Christie said in prepared remarks.

Apart from the April 1 SBA disaster loan deadline for property damage, businesses have until July 31 to apply for SBA economic injury disaster loans.

Businesses, meanwhile, can access help in filing their applications at any of the state's Small Business Development Centers, its Women's Business Centers or SCORE Association offices. Phillips, for instance, met with a counselor at her local SBDC to help with the loan process.

Applicants can apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Additional details can be found by calling (800) 659-2955 or sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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