BATON ROUGE, La. -- More than 1000 people who suffered damages and losses from the severe storms and flooding May 12-19, 2004 have called to apply for disaster assistance. State and federal disaster recovery officials from Louisiana Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge those affected to find out if they qualify for the wide range of disaster assistance programs available. Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis.
To apply for assistance call the toll-free application number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairment can call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both lines are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice. Registrations will be accepted through August 7, 2004.
Common questions and answers about disaster aid:
I have registered with my parish emergency manager. Do I need to register with FEMA?
Registration with your parish is not the same as applying with Homeland Security’s FEMA. For federal and state disaster assistance, you must call the toll-free registration number. The June 8th disaster declaration covers eight parishes: Acadia, Iberville, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry, St. Martin and West Baton Rouge.
I have insurance. Is there still other help available to me?
Insurance is your main source for money to put your life back in order after a disaster. However, you may find that you are “underinsured,” there are many things that insurance—even flood insurance—does not cover. That is where federal and state disaster programs may be able to help. Assistance may include disaster housing grants and home repair reimbursement, as well as crisis counseling and income tax advice. Even if you have flood insurance, you should register for assistance.
Do I have to wait for my insurance adjuster before I apply for disaster assistance?
You do not have to wait for an agent or adjuster’s inspection before applying for assistance or beginning repairs needed to make your house safe, sanitary and functional. However, if you have insurance, you should find out what your policy covers, and be sure to keep papers and receipts for any work. If you still have unmet disaster-related needs, you should call the registration number to apply. To avoid a duplication of benefits, you may need to provide additional insurance information.
I already repaired my home. Is it too late to apply?
No. You could qualify for reimbursement of expenses not covered by your insurance.
I got help from the American Red Cross but do I still need to apply to FEMA if I need assistance?
FEMA coordinates a number of programs to help disaster victims. These programs are different from the emergency food, clothing and shelter initially provided by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other voluntary agencies. Registration with the Red Cross or other voluntary agency is not the same as applying with FEMA. For federal and state disaster assistance, you must apply by calling the special toll-free registration number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairment.
Do I have to be turned down by my bank before I can apply for a disaster loan?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which handles low-interest disaster loans, has its own criteria for determining each loan applicant’s eligibility. The SBA will decide whether or not...