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  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

Storm Recovery: FEMA & SBA FAQ

Updated: Mar 15

I heard that FEMA was recently visiting some working waterfronts properties that are used for commercial fishing. Why were they visiting private properties?

The joint preliminary damage assessment process is intended to allow FEMA and the state to validate

damages to ensure that the state does in fact meet the criteria for being able to move a Major Disaster

Declaration request forward, essentially proving that the magnitude of the event is beyond the ability of

the state to respond to.

FEMA funds public infrastructure as well as residential damage (excluding second homes). Does that include personal wharves (private working waterfront properties)?

FEMA offers public infrastructure assistance to State’s, Local, Territorial, and Tribal entities by way of

the Public Assistance program. For the state to be able to request the Public Assistance program in a

Major Disaster Declaration request it must meet the minimum criteria, ensuring that supporting the

recovery of public infrastructure is beyond the ability of the state alone.

FEMA offers individual assistance to households and individuals by way of the Individual Assistance program. For the state to be able to request the Individual Assistance program in a Major Disaster Declaration request it must meet the minimum criteria, ensuring that supporting the recovery of a homeowner is beyond the ability of standard insurance and local/state entities to support.

Individual Assistance is a federal program that can help people whose homes were damaged in a disaster make those homes livable. It is designed to assist with only the basic necessities and is not designed to make disaster survivors whole again.

This program does not support personal wharves (private working waterfront infrastructure).


FEMA funds will not help with businesses, correct?


Does funding for businesses fall under the SBA? Should small businesses reach out directly to SBA?

Correct. Small businesses can reach out to SBA any time of year for standard loans, but we are currently

going through the motions of validating damages across all eight coastal counties to move a SBA Rural

Communities Disaster Declaration. If declared, this will activate low-interest disaster loans not to exceed


Will loans under the SBA require flood zone insurance?

To protect each borrower and the Agency, SBA may require you to obtain and maintain appropriate

insurance. By law, borrowers whose damaged or collateral property is located in a special flood hazard area must purchase and maintain flood insurance. SBA requires that flood insurance coverage be the lesser of 1) the total of the disaster loan, 2) the insurable value of the property, or 3) the maximum insurance available.

Applications for disaster loans may be submitted online using the MySBA Loan Portal

at or other locally announced locations.

Please contact the SBA’s Customer Service Center by email at or by

phone at 1-800-659-2955 for further assistance. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a

speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.

Who is the best contact for SBA questions?

Maine has its own non-disaster staffing across three separate offices: Portland, Augusta, and Bangor.

Non-disaster contacts can be found here. Once a disaster is declared, for example the December 18 th  storm has been declared a disaster, then disaster specific resources will be assigned and deployed to Maine. Businesses or homeowners can reach out to #800-659-2955, visit a Disaster Recovery Center, or


Governor Mills submitted a Major Disaster Declaration request to President Biden on Friday, February 23rd. In her request, Governor Mills asked for both Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for all eight coastal counties. There is no estimate as to how quickly President Biden will respond to the request. Read more HERE.


Other FAQ about Storm Recovery:



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