MOBILE, Ala. -- The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) urge individuals awaiting insurance settlements to apply for disaster assistance as soon as possible.
“Even though recovery is well underway for most victims of Hurricane Ivan, some people remain unaware that they may obtain disaster assistance even if they have pending insurance issues,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Tony Russell.
Insured individuals affected by the hurricane may call FEMA’s toll-free number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to apply. Persons who are speech- or hearing-impaired can call 1-800-462-7585 for TTY service. Phone lines are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Individuals may also apply online at www.fema.gov. The deadline to apply for assistance has been extended to March 3.
Likewise, disaster victims with insurance should not wait for their insurance settlement before applying to the SBA. If they do not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, the SBA will consider making a loan for the full amount of the loss, up to its loan limits, providing the borrower agrees that insurance proceeds will be used to pay off or reduce the amount of the SBA loan. In addition, completing the SBA loan packet enables applicants to be considered for other forms of assistance beyond a low-interest SBA disaster loan.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.