LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Less than two weeks remain for Wisconsin residents and business owners who sustained damage from the severe storms and flooding occurring Aug. 18 - 31 to apply for disaster assistance. The deadline to apply is Oct. 25.
"For individuals who have already applied, their cases will continue to be processed," said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Bolch of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "We want people to understand that Thursday October 25 is merely the end of the application period, which started August 26 when President Bush issued the major disaster declaration."
Loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-related losses to real and personal property and businesses of all sizes must also be submitted by that date. SBA officials encourage anyone who has received a disaster loan application to turn it in as soon as possible.
"Even those who have insurance should apply by October 25 if their home or business suffered damage in the August flooding," said State Coordinating Officer Diane Kleiboer, of Wisconsin Emergency Management. "People may find that they still have needs after the insurance settlement and may qualify for financial assistance in the form of a low-interest disaster loan or grant."
Federal and state disaster recovery officials urge those who have not done so to apply as soon as possible. There are two easy ways to begin the application process. Residents may call FEMA's special toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairment. Both numbers are available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Residents with Internet access have the option to apply anytime on the agency's Web site at www.fema.gov. Valuable recovery information is also available on the Web site.
Disaster officials also stated that residents waiting for a final insurance settlement should contact the FEMA Helpline at the same numbers above if their claim is paid or for any other updates to their claim information. If there have been changes to contact information, for instance, applicants should call the Helpline right away to ensure they receive their assistance as quickly as possible.
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.