ATLANTA, Ga. -- The deadline is fast approaching for people impacted by the March 1 severe storms and tornadoes in Alabama to register for assistance. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) state that the application deadline is Wednesday, May 2.
Individuals, households and businesses in the seven counties named in the presidential disaster declaration have until that day to register. The same deadline must be met by applicants to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) who are seeking low-interest loans for disaster-related losses of real and personal property. The named counties are: Coffee, Dale, Dallas , Henry, Jefferson, Montgomery and Wilcox.
"We want to make sure Alabama residents affected by the March 1 st tornadoes and storms receive the proper assistance, but they must do their part by getting their application submitted prior to the deadline," said Bruce P. Baughman, AEMA director and state coordinating officer for the disaster recovery.
"It's important that folks realize this is a hard deadline," said Gracia Szczech, the federal coordinating officer for the Alabama recovery. "Applications in the pipeline now and on that date will be processed, but no new applications will be accepted after May 2."
Those affected in the seven named counties who have not applied for disaster assistance should do so as soon as possible by calling the toll-free application number, ( 800) 621-FEMA (3362), or for those with speech or hearing impairments, (TTY) (800) 462-7585 . Individuals may also register for disaster assistance at the FEMA Web site, 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 about the status of their previously filed applications should continue to use FEMA's toll-free numbers.
Applicants who received an SBA loan application after they 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, and applicants who do not qualify may then 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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, economic status or retaliation. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, you should call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or contact your State Office of Equal rights. If suspicious of any abuse of FEMA programs, please contact the fraud hotline at 1-800-323-8603.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for 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.