Birmingham, AL -- Some Alabamians may not yet be eligible for available FEMA aid because of confusion regarding inspectors who check on damages, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials reported today.
Gracia Szczech, federal coordinating officer for FEMA, said there have been reports that a number of residents believed they were in the FEMA system for aid eligibility because a county inspector had viewed damages on their property.
"To be eligible for FEMA assistance," Szczech said, "a person must first register with FEMA. That toll-free number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairments. This is the action that may trigger the appearance to the damaged property by a FEMA inspector."
The coordinating officer said that in some counties where preliminary inspections indicated significant damages in as high as 200 properties in a county, only a small number of applications to FEMA have been received. There are indications, she added, that after a county inspector visited the property, owners incorrectly believed such a visit automatically placed them in the FEMA application register.
"We want every eligible citizen to register with FEMA to be sure that they can receive any help for which they are eligible," said Perry Martin, coordinating officer for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
To date, 3,254 persons have registered for assistance and $6,929,931 has been approved for payment by FEMA. Thirty-eight Alabama counties have been declared eligible for individual assistance.