HARRISBURG, Pa. -- McKean County residents who suffered damage or losses caused by the severe storms and heavy rains Aug. 20-21, should apply for state and federal assistance by calling FEMA toll-free at 1-800-462-9029, prior to visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. The hearing- or speech- impaired with TTY equipment can call 1-800-462-7585. "Some folks may be reluctant to call and apply for help," said Bob Churchman, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) state coordinating officer. "But people who have suffered damages and losses may qualify for state and federal aid and they should apply for it."
"Residents must call the national teleregistration center to become eligible for other state or federal assistance," stated Jack Schuback, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) federal coordinating officer. "After they register by calling 1-800-462-9029, a FEMA inspector will visit the property to check the damage." Officials point out that even people who have their property insured may qualify for assistance not covered by their insurance. "The point is that unless disaster victims apply by calling the toll-free number (1-800-462-9029) they won't know if they may qualify for assistance and we can't help them," Schuback said.
After registering, applicants may receive a loan form from the Small Business Administration (SBA). "People frequently fail to complete that application, saying that they are not a business or that they don't want a loan. But we can't provide other forms of aid, such as an individual and family grants, unless they don't quality for a SBA loan," Schuback added. Some of the assistance programs available for individuals in McKean County include temporary housing, grants for home repairs and unemployment payments to workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster.
"Even if you called the local emergency management office after the storm, you must call the 1-800-462-9029 number to be eligible for any further assistance," Churchman added. After victims register, they can call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 to get information on the status of their claims. The hearing- and speech- impaired with TDD equipment can call 1-800-660-8055.