The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved over $561 million in disaster assistance loans for residents and businesses in New York affected by Hurricane Sandy and over $238 million for residents and businesses in New Jersey, and said it is eager to do more.

"We are pleased to get these loans approved so residents in the disaster area can start to rebuild and resume their normal lives,” said Frank Skaggs, director of the SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, in a statement Monday. “However, there are many who have yet to apply. Some survivors are hesitant to take on additional debt or are waiting on insurance. However, waiting to file an SBA application could cause unnecessary delays in receiving disaster assistance.”

Returning the loan application is an essential part of the disaster recovery process, the SBA noted. A completed SBA disaster loan package enables survivors to make informed decisions about what recovery options best suit their needs. If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, the SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan. 

Applicants may apply online through the SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or visit one of the local recovery centers for face-to-face assistance. 

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage has been extended to
Jan. 28, 2013 for New York and Jan. 30, 2013 for New Jersey. The deadline to return economic injury applications in both states is July 31, 2013.

Aid is also available from the SBA in other states affected by Hurricane Sandy, including Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.

Separately, the House approved $50.5 billion in aid to Sandy victims on Tuesday evening after approving $9.7 billion to replenish a federal flood insurance fund earlier this month. The measures now goes to the Senate, which has already approved a combined package of aid for Sandy victims.