Harrisburg, PA -- Information on the status of disaster assistance for those who have already applied for federal and state aid is just a phone call away. Homeowners and renters with damage from the severe storms and flooding that occurred between Sept. 12-23 are reminded that they can call the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Helpline to update their application or get more information on available assistance.
David M. Sanko, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, stressed the importance of registering first for disaster assistance. Director Sanko said, "But if you have a question, answers concerning many of your disaster problems are only a telephone call away."
"The pressing need for accurate and immediate information about disaster assistance, or the status of an application, is vital to everyone with losses from the storms," said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies. "Helpline operators may not be able to answer every question, but they can refer the caller to other agencies or organizations that can." The Helpline is the only way to contact FEMA with questions about disaster aid.
The Helpline number, 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired) is the same number used to register for assistance. When calling, just select the "Helpline" option. FEMA experts are available to answer questions from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Helpline staff are trained and courteous specialists who will help find the information callers need without delay. It is an important resource for all applicants and can provide many services, such as: checking the status of an application; referring problems to a program specialist; updating applicant information including changes in income, telephone number and address; and referring special needs to other recovery agencies
Homeowners, renters and business owners who had uninsured physical or economic losses who have not yet applied for assistance are encouraged to register before the Nov. 25 deadline. These numbers (1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585) are in operation from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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.