COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Disaster victims may be eligible for more assistance, even if they have already gotten help.
More than $3 million in federal and state disaster assistance has been approved for renters, homeowners and businesses to date. However, some people may find their expenses for essential items to recover from the storms and floods are more than the aid they have received. If so, they should ask for more assistance, according to federal and state recovery officials.
"We make our grants based on an estimated cost of repairs," explained Federal Coordinating Officer Scott Logan of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Sometimes the actual cost of repairs exceeds the original estimate. If they do, come see us, or call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321, to discuss your additional needs."
State Coordinating Officer Tommy Grier of the Colorado Office of Emergency Management echoed that advice concerning grants under the Colorado Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG).
"The IFG grants are based on estimated costs of the items that need replacement or repair," he said. "If your actual cost exceeds that, call us at the Helpline with your additional needs."
Both emphasized that any request for additional assistance is only for those situations where essential and necessary items are involved.
"For example, if a grant to clean a furnace was $150 and the actual cost by the repairman was $350, call the Helpline about it," Grier said. "We may be able to help with added costs. The key here is items that are 'essential and necessary' to make the home livable."
It is very important in any request such as this to have receipts for work done or estimates for the cost of work not yet done. Few requests can be responded to without those important documents.
"What needs to be emphasized," Logan said, "is that if state and federal disaster assistance fell short of your expenses for what is essential and necessary to make your home livable, talk to us about it. Our goal is to ensure that everyone receives everything for which they are eligible, but we can't provide for more than what that recipient is eligible for."
Those who have already received assistance can inquire about eligibility for more aid by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or by stopping by the Disaster Recover Center (DRC) in La Junta between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
People who have not yet registered for assistance, but whose homes or businesses were affected by the severe storms and floods of April 29 to May 10, must make their initial registration by calling 1-800/462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585).