Little Rock, Ark. -- The last day for individuals affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to apply for initial disaster assistance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is March 11, 2006. This is also the deadline to submit disaster loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Individuals, families and business owners affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita should not hesitate to apply for disaster aid if they have not already done so.
FEMA has operators available to take applications for disaster assistance toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. The FEMA teleregistration and Helpline number is operational daily from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. CST seven days a week. Non-English speakers should know registrations can be conducted in up to 173 languages.
Individuals may also register for disaster assistance online at the FEMA Web site www.fema.gov. Click on "Online Individual Assistance Center" and the screens will prompt you through the process. The Internet application expires after 30 minutes as a security precaution, and information entered will be lost if applicants do not complete the process within this time period.
I have not called to register with FEMA so far, why should I call now?
March 11, 2006 is the last day to apply for FEMA's Individual Assistance (IA) Program and low interest loans from SBA.
Those who are eligible under the IA program may receive:
- Temporary housing assistance;
- Replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs;
- Disaster unemployment assistance.
Those who are approved for a low-interest disaster loan from SBA may receive:
- Up to $200,000 to repair disaster damaged homes and $40,000 for personal property losses;
- Up to $1.5 million to cover property damages for businesses;
- Up to $1.5 million in working capital.
Why should I fill out and submit an SBA loan application?
SBA disaster loans are not just for small businesses. If you are a homeowner or a renter you must complete and submit the SBA loan application to qualify for a disaster loan. IF SBA is unable to approve you for a disaster loan, you may be referred to FEMA for additional grants. For more information about the SBA loan application call 1-800-659-2955.
What information do I need when I call the FEMA Helpline or go online to register?
- A telephone number where you may be reached;
- Your addresses at both the time of the disaster and where you are now staying;
- Your Social Security number , if available;
- A brief description of disaster-related damages and losses you suffered;
- Bank account information (account number and routing number to receive a direct deposit). If applicants do not know the necessary information to sign up for a direct deposit, they should call their banks to get this information before starting an application. FEMA strongly encourages people to provide their bank account and routing numbers because many residents have relocated following the disasters and mailed checks may not reach them; individuals who do not have bank accounts may have assistance checks mailed to their present address.
- Insurance coverage, policy number(s) and agent's name.
- Applicants should contact their insurance company and file necessary claims before contacting FEMA, as Government assistance does not cover damage or losses already covered by private insurance.
The deadline to apply for FEMA and SBA disaster assistance is March 11, 2006.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national inciden...