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Disaster Funds for Dentists

The American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) and the Florida Dental Health Foundation (FDHF) offer assistance to dentists whose offices have been affected or destroyed by natural disasters, including hurricanes.

ADAF Charitable Assistance Program

The ADA Foundation’s Charitable Assistance Program serves as a safety net for dentists and their families in need. Following the devastation left by the Hurricanes in 2005, the ADA Foundation offered two grant programs to help those in need:

  1. Grants up to $2,500 are available to assist dentists with personal, immediate emergency needs.
  2. Grants are available to nonprofit, or publicly-funded, organizations to provide dental services to affected areas.

Caution

Disasters can bring out the best in people—and the worst. Make sure you know with whom you are dealing. FEMA inspectors and contractors wear distinctive photo identification cards. Do not assume that someone wearing a FEMA shirt is authorized to do so. SBA employees also carry photo identification. Bona fide personnel will never ask for money or seek personal financial information, Social Security numbers or Federal Identification numbers on site.

ADAF Disaster Assistance Loan Program Discontinued

The ADA Foundation's Board decided to discontinue the Disaster Assistance Loan Program as of July 1, 2006. This program offered low-interest loans up to $25,000 to dentists rebuilding because of disaster damage. IRS-required program criteria stipulate that to qualify, applicants must be financially in need and must have been turned down by a bank for a loan. Among factors driving the decision: there have been no applications in four years; repayment of loans is extremely rare; and it is believed financial resources could be better used to support the ADA Disaster Assistance Grant Program. The grant program received more than 650 applications in 2005. Applications were accepted for disaster loans until July 1, 2006.

Florida Dental Health Foundation's Disaster Funds

Through the FDHF's Disaster Fund, the FDA stands ready to assist dentists whose offices are affected or destroyed by disasters. You do not need to be a member of organized dentistry to be considered for a Disaster Fund grant or loan.

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Other Sources of Disaster Recovery Funds

Federal and state agencies respond in numerous ways to natural disasters. Assistance programs vary by location and event. The availability of public and private funds will be announced on television, radio and in the print media.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low interest Business Physical Disaster Loans to repair or replace real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and supplies. Loans are secured and the applicant must demonstrate the ability to repay. You also must prove you cannot access the same loan terms anyplace else. There are statutory limits on the amount of the loan, but interest rates vary. Loan agreements include a requirement to maintain full hazard insurance for the life of the loan and borrowers may be obligated to purchase flood insurance. Applications for assistance usually are processed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In a declared disaster, businesses that have suffered major losses also may qualify for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Amounts are limited to actual economic losses that personal resources cannot offset, or that insurance will not reimburse. Economic Injury Disaster Loans also may be available through the Florida Department of Health.

Training, Advice, and Other Assistance

Do you have questions about any of the SBA's disaster loans, the loan application process, or even how to formulate a recovery plan for your practice?

SBDCs are nonprofit organizations that provide free and confidential business counseling services to help small businesses succeed. SBDC counselors are fully qualified to counsel you by phone, email, or in person, on any number of topics, including how to formulate a business recovery plan, locate disaster-related loans and grants, complete loan and grant applications, and understand how federal disaster assistance works.

To take advantage of this free and confidential resource (and to locate a counseling center in your area), contact the lead SBDC in your state. Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).

Return to Top Thank you to the Florida Dental Association and Florida Dental Health Foundation for providing significant contributions to this content, which were funded in part from the American Dental Association Foundation.