BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland disaster victims who have not yet applied for federal disaster assistance have only two more weeks to apply. December 8, 2003, is the last day to file applications for disaster assistance programs, according to federal and state disaster recovery officials. If you are not registered in the system by December 8 and you later discover hurricane-related damages, they will not be covered by disaster assistance programs.
Homeowners, renters, farmers, and businesses owners who sustained damage from Hurricane Isabel are encouraged to apply by calling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with hearing or speech impairments can register by calling 1-800-462-7585. The telephone numbers are operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
Applicants may qualify for assistance under several federal and state programs such as disaster housing assistance, grants to meet disaster-related needs and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans. SBA loan applications must be postmarked by the December 8 deadline.
"These assistance programs are the primary funding sources to assist victims of Hurricane Isabel who are not covered by or are inadequately covered by insurance," said Maryland Department of Planning Secretary Audrey Scott. "Marylanders who need federal assistance and have not registered with FEMA should make every effort to contact the toll-free number and register before the December 8 deadline."
"Even after the deadline, if you have questions about your application, FEMA will be just a telephone call away," said Bill Lokey, federal coordinating officer.
Applicants may reach the FEMA Helpline by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, to answer questions about the assistance process or the status of applications. TTY service is available at 1-800-462-7585.
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.