RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Although the application period for federal assistance has expired, individuals can still call the FEMA Helpline regarding questions on disaster aid.
"If you have registered for assistance, the Helpline professionals can help answer questions about your application, explain FEMA programs, and make referrals to other agencies," explained Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Del Brewer. "At this point, the Helpline is the only way to contact FEMA with questions about disaster aid."
The number for the FEMA Helpline is 1-800-525-0321. Persons with hearing-or speech-impairments may call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The hours of operation for the Helpline are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
As of August 11, more than $1.2 million in federal disaster aid has been approved for survivors of the tornadoes and severe storms that ravaged the Pine Ridge Reservation June 4 and 5.
However, FEMA is not the only form of assistance that may be available. According to Jon Wallace, FEMA's Volunteer Agency Liaison in South Dakota, the Pine Ridge Reservation Disaster Recovery Committee is also coordinating some types of assistance. This committee, comprised of non-profit organizations involved in the recovery, is working to identify critical unmet needs of the disaster victims and ways to guide long term recovery efforts. Additionally, The First National Bank of Gordon, Nebraska continues to accept donations for the Oglala Victims Fund. Information is available by calling 308-282-0050.
"Keep receipts for all your disaster-related expenses," Brewer said, "as those records will help determine your eligibility for additional assistance. You may also be able to claim your losses against your federal tax returns."