HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania residents and business owners who suffered damages from Tropical Storm Ivan between Sept. 17 and Oct. 1 are urged to register for disaster assistance before the Dec. 18 deadline. If you’re not sure whether you qualify, call and find out.
“We want to encourage all affected Pennsylvanian’s in disaster-declared counties to apply for the assistance they may need,” said David M. Sanko, state coordinating officer. “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,” Sanko said.
“Call the toll-free registration number - 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - and find out whether assistance is available to you,” Sanko said.
When you receive your disaster assistance packet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you will also receive a U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application. Take the time to fill this out – even if you don't want a loan.
“The loan application provides information necessary to determine the appropriate assistance for an applicant. If you do not qualify for a loan, you may be referred to other available disaster assistance,” Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer, said.
Even though government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss, FEMA, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), and the SBA provide a number of grants and loans for flood victims. The FEMA representative will explain the details when you call.
The application process begins with a single phone call to FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those who are speech- or hearing-impaired can apply by calling the toll-free TTY number, 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available from 6 a.m. until midnight, Monday though Saturday.
The 56 counties included in the disaster declaration extension are Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Delaware, Dauphin, Elk, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.