INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Federal and state disaster recovery officials announced that, beginning today, the toll-free application and Helpline numbers will reduce their hours of operation to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and will continue to serve the needs of those who suffered property damage and loss in the declared counties as a result of the severe weather and flooding that occurred from January 1 to February 11, 2005.
More than 12,028 residents have already applied for assistance, and more than $9.8 million in grants has been approved for 7,448 claims that have been approved thus far. Only three weeks remain to apply for disaster assistance before the Tuesday, March 22 deadline.
Disaster officials urge individuals, families and business owners who suffered losses in the declared counties should apply for assistance by calling FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairment). These numbers are available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday thru Saturday, until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to take your call. Individuals with Internet access now have the option to apply on FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov, where valuable recovery information is also available.
When applying it is important to have the following information available:
- Your current phone number;
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
- Your Social Security number, if available;
- A general list of damages and losses you suffered;
- If insured, the name of your company or agent and your policy number;
- General financial information; and
- Bank account coding if you wish to speed up your assistance with direct deposit
Federal disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Residents should contact their insurance agent first. Then they should apply with FEMA. Some disaster assistance does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of SBA low-interest disaster loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and effectively manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, 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.