Anchorage, AK -- Approximately $656,000 in recovery assistance has been approved or disbursed to individuals and business owners who sustained damages from the severe winter storm, March 6-14, said federal and state officials. President George Bush declared residents and businesses within the Municipality of Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula and Mat-Su Boroughs eligible for federal disaster aid on April 26.
"We've had 797 people call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free registration number-1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - since the declaration," said William Lokey, federal coordinating officer. Lokey stressed that people seeking federal assistance must begin the process by calling the toll-free registration number. People who have speech or hearing impairments can call FEMA's TTY 1-800-462-7585. Applicants can register by telephone from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Alaska Time), Monday through Friday.
"FEMA needs certain information, such as an applicant's Social Security number, insurance coverage and information about family or household income, before a person is registered for assistance," Lokey said. "Calls to local emergency officials or to the municipalities will not get one registered for federal aid. People must call FEMA's toll-free registration number."
The $656,000 recovery assistance total reflects nearly $359,000 disbursed from the FEMA Housing Assistance program, $178,900 approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loan program, and more than $129,000 disbursed from the state-and-federal "Other Needs" grant program, FEMA officials said. Currently, 190 people have received grants from the FEMA Housing Assistance program, and 36 Alaska residents received state-and-federal "Other Needs" funds.
After people register for federal and state disaster recovery assistance they can track their claim by calling the FEMA Helpline - 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - and following the recorded instructions. People with questions about U.S. Small Business Administration loans can call the SBA Information line at 1-800-488-5323.
"The deadline to register for FEMA assistance and to return SBA loan packets is June 25," Lokey said. "If you live within the declared area and suffered damages from the March storm, call the FEMA toll-free registration number for assistance. After the June 25 deadline, there's nothing FEMA can do to help if you have not registered."
Although FEMA does not compensate people for insured items that were damaged, it is important that applicants register for federal aid by the June deadline, Lokey said. "First, register with FEMA, then work through the insurance settlement, and whatever damages have not been covered by insurance FEMA will consider. But you must be registered before FEMA or the SBA can help - you must call the 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) by June 25," he said.