Jackson, MS -- June 23rd - only seven days away -is the deadline to apply for disaster assistance. Residents and business owners located in the 31 central and southwestern Mississippi disaster-declared counties and who suffered storm damage during the April 6th through 25th severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, must apply for federal and state disaster assistance by June 23, 2003, to be eligible for disaster aid.
June 23rd is also the deadline for completing and returning loan applications to the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-related losses to real and personal property.
The counties in which residents are eligible to apply for assistance are: Amite, Attala, Claiborne, Clarke, Copiah, Franklin, Hinds, Holmes, Issaquena, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Neshoba, Newton, Pearl River, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, Smith, Walthall, Warren, Wayne and Yazoo.
Carlos Mitchell of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stated, "There are a variety of federal and state disaster assistance programs that may be available to those who sustained storm damage during the recent severe weather. However, the only way we can determine if someone is eligible to receive disaster aid is by reviewing his or her completed SBA loan application. Without the information contained in that application, we simply are unable to make a determination about eligibility for disaster aid."
The SBA loan application should be received shortly after applying by phone with FEMA. If individuals are unable to repay a SBA loan, they may be eligible for a grant.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's Leon Shaifer, the state official in charge of long-term recovery, stressed, "With the deadline so near, now is the time for action. Many people think that because they had insurance they don't qualify for federal and state assistance. Sometimes the amount of insurance carried is not adequate. You may be underinsured. Protect yourself and apply now for assistance by calling FEMA's application number. After June 23rd, it will be too late."
The toll-free disaster assistance application number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired.