Jackson, MS -- Mississippians who sustained storm damage during the May 5th through 8th severe storms, tornadoes and high winds and who have settled with their insurance companies still should consider applying for federal/state disaster assistance, disaster officials said today.
Long-term recovery officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) urge everyone with storm losses to apply for disaster aid to protect against unpleasant surprises.
Leon Shaifer, MEMA's state coordinating officer, said, "There have been cases where unexpected losses appear after insurance claims are paid. Applying for assistance with FEMA provides a safeguard against unexpected storm damage costs occurring after insurance settlement has been paid."
State and federal disaster assistance covers uninsured losses only and has no effect on the homeowner's insurance policies. Also, applying for assistance does not commit applicants to receiving aid.
Carlos Mitchell, FEMA's federal coordinating officer, added, "Why not protect yourself while you still have time to do so. With the deadline to apply for assistance about a month and a half away, the time is now to give yourself that added protection. It takes only a few minutes to apply over FEMA's toll-free telephone line, 1-800-621-3362. The hearing or speech impaired may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Operators are available to serve applicants every day, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m."
The counties declared disaster areas as a result of President Bush's May 23, 2003 declaration are: Calhoun, Clay, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Pontotoc and Webster. Residents of these counties are eligible to apply for a variety of federal/state disaster assistance programs.