Frankfort, Ky. - Disaster officials want to assure Kentuckians who suffered damages because of the June storms that there are sufficient funds to cover eligible losses.
"We encourage all affected residents and business owners in the 21 disaster-declared counties to apply for the assistance they may need," said Scott Wells, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the federal coordinating officer for the Kentucky disaster recovery.
"Some people don't apply because they're worried about taking away from someone else who had greater losses. They also may be concerned their damages won't qualify," Wells said. "Or perhaps they have insurance and don't realize that some expenses not covered by insurance may be eligible under disaster assistance programs."
"Call the toll-free registration number - 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - and find out whether assistance is available to you," Wells said. "The federal government has allocated sufficient funds for all those in the disaster-affected areas who have eligible losses."
Disaster assistance programs include grants for temporary housing needs and for homeowners to make essential repairs; low-interest disaster loans from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners, renters and businesses to repair or replace damaged property; disaster unemployment assistance; and grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not otherwise covered.
"Don't disqualify yourself by not calling," said Charlie Winter, of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KyEM) and state coordinating officer. "We don't want to miss anyone affected by the severe storm who may need help. Tax dollars are set aside specifically for disaster assistance."
More than 2,500 residents in the 21 disaster-affected counties already have applied. The application process is easy and efficient. It begins with a single phone call to FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Applicants with speech or hearing impairments can apply by calling the toll-free TTY number - 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. daily.
A reminder: The SBA loan application must be completed and returned as soon as possible to ensure consideration for other disaster programs.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.