Indianapolis, IN -- Tornado and severe storm victims in disaster-declared Indiana counties do not need to be concerned that their applications for assistance will reduce the amounts available for their neighbors.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Indiana State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and voluntary organizations are providing a wide range of programs and services for those affected by the devastating weather of September 20. Nearly 1,300 Indiana residents have already applied for disaster assistance.
"Don't hesitate to apply for the assistance you may need," Bill Lokey, FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer, said. "The federal government has allocated sufficient funds for all those in the disaster-affected areas who have eligible losses."
Residents are encouraged to apply for disaster assistance programs, which may include 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.
"Don't prejudge your eligibility," Patrick R. Ralston, SEMA's State Coordinating Officer, said. "We don't want to miss anyone affected by the tornadoes and storms who may need help to begin the recovery process. Tax dollars are set aside specifically for disaster assistance."
Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call to apply.
The application process is easy, efficient and begins with a single phone call to FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those who are speech or hearing impaired can apply by calling the toll-free number TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. until further notice, and multilingual operators are also available to answer your call.