BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Residents and business owners in Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties have only one more week to apply for federal and state disaster assistance to help them recover from damages resulting from the lake-effect storms and flooding from October 12 - 25. The application deadline is December 23, 2006 .
Disaster response officials urge those who have not yet applied to do so as soon as possible by calling the toll-free application number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired. Individuals may also apply for disaster assistance online at www.fema.gov.
Applications may be updated and will continue to be processed after the December 23 deadline; however, new applications for assistance will not be accepted after that date. Helpline representatives are available to answer questions about assistance, update application information or to check the status of an application by calling 1-800-621-3362.
Individuals who have insurance may be eligible for disaster assistance for under-insured losses. Insured residents should apply for disaster assistance before the December 23 application deadline, even if they have not yet received an insurance settlement. FEMA will need a resident's insurance settlement information in order to complete processing an application to avoid any duplication. However, for application purposes, FEMA only needs to know whether the applicant has insurance.
Assistance available to disaster victims includes grants for temporary disaster housing; grants for repairing disaster-damaged, uninsured homes to a safe and sanitary living condition; and grants for serious, disaster-related needs including personal property and transportation losses and medical, dental and funeral expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property. The SBA loan application deadlines are December 26, 2006 for physical damage and July 24, 2007 for economic injury.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.