Indianapolis, IN -- A toll-free application telephone number is now operational for those who suffered property damage or loss in the declared counties affected by the Tornadoes and Severe Storms of September 20, 2002. Even if residents have already registered with a local volunteer agency, they need to call the FEMA teleregistration number to be eligible for federal and state programs.
Bill Lokey, Federal Coordinating Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Patrick R. Ralston, State Coordinating Officer, Indiana State Emergency Management (SEMA), said those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free application number, 800-621-FEMA, between 8a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST), Sunday through Saturday, until further notice. Those with a speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 800-462-7585.
In response to a request from Governor Frank L. O'Bannon on September 24, 2002, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration September 25, 2002. The declaration designated the counties of Bartholomew, Blackford, Brown, Daviess, Decatur, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Henry, Jay, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Pike, Posey, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Sullivan, Tipton and Vanderburgh eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners.
The declaration makes residents of these counties eligible for a wide range of programs such as funding for disaster housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious need and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
Residents and businesses that suffered damage or loss and have insurance coverage should first contact their insurance company. If they find they have unmet needs they should apply for disaster assistance.
"Your phone call is your application for state and federal assistance available under the disaster declaration. Telephone application has proven to be the simplest, quickest and most efficient way to apply," Patrick R, Ralston said.
Before you call to apply, it is helpful to have the following information ready:
- Your current phone number
- Your Social Security number
- A list of damages and losses you suffered
- The name of your insurance company and your policy number
- Bank account coding if you wish to speed up your assistance with direct deposit
According to Patrick R. Ralston individuals who have suffered damage and have unmet needs are encouraged to call the application number immediately. "Even if you don't have all the information necessary or it was lost in the flooding, don't prejudge your eligibility," he said. "It's important that all residents get the assistance they are entitled to."
DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM INFORMATION
When disaster strikes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administers a number of disaster assistance programs and coordinates the efforts of many other federal agencies that provide services to help people through the recovery process. The types of assistance that are available follow:
Federal Emergency Management Agency Programs
DISASTER HOUSING ASSISTANCE: Housing assistance to individuals and families whose permanent homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Types of aid include grants for: (1) alternate rental housing; (2) emergency repairs needed to make a residence habitable; and (3) mortgage or rental assistance in cases where the disaster has...