CORDELE, Ga. -- Declared deadlines are approaching for people who wish to seek disaster assistance in the Georgia counties hit hardest by the severe storms and tornadoes of March 1 and 2, according to officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
May 2, 2007, is the last day to register for federal/state assistance to individuals, households and businesses in the nine counties (Baker, Crawford, Dougherty, McDuffie, Mitchell, Sumter, Taylor, Warren and Worth). The same deadline must be met by applicants to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) who are seeking loans for disaster-related losses of real and personal property.
“We want people to understand that this deadline is for new disaster applications,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Bolch, in charge of federal disaster recovery operations in the affected area. “For those who already have applied, their cases will continue to be processed. New applications will not be accepted after the May 2 deadline.”
Another deadline involves taxes. Residents of the nine storm-affected counties were not required to file their federal income tax returns by April 17, but have until April 30.
Storm victims who have not applied for disaster assistance are urged 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 those with speech or hearing impairments. Individuals may also register for disaster assistance at the FEMA website www.fema.gov.
After the application deadline, FEMA’s toll-free phone lines will still be available to assist those who have already registered. Applicants who have questions about the disaster assistance programs or questions about the status of their previously filed applications should continue to use FEMA’s toll-free number.
FEMA’s disaster-related temporary housing assistance and grants for public 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 the SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
Applicants who receive an SBA loan application after they have registered must fill it out and return it in order for the assistance process to continue. Applicants who qualify for low-interest loans do not have to accept them. Applicants who do not qualify may be eligible for other forms of assistance.
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.