LEXINGTON, Ky. -- There is still time to register for storm disaster assistance. It would be smart to act now, according to disaster recovery officials.
"If you live in one of the 15 Kentucky counties eligible for federal disaster assistance and you suffered any losses from the tornadoes and severe storms in early February, you owe it to yourself to register for federal assistance - even if you aren't sure whether you qualify for aid," said Michael Bolch, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official who is leading the agency's Kentucky recovery program.
Residents of the 15 designated counties are eligible to apply for a wide range of programs, such as funding for temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans, and grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
"Let FEMA have the information and determine whether there is federal help in your particular circumstances," said Kentucky Emergency Management Assistant Director Charlie Winter, who is state coordinating officer for this event.
"Don't assume that because you have insurance or did not have as much damage as your neighbors, you are ineligible. Don't listen to rumors you may hear about eligibility. If you suffered damage from the tornadoes and storms Feb. 5-6 and live in one of the declared counties, call FEMA or apply online," he said.
Registering with county or other local officials or with the American Red Cross or another voluntary agency does not include FEMA registration. To register with FEMA requires a phone call to the agency's toll free number or going online to the agency Web site.
Individuals can apply for FEMA assistance, follow up on their applications, have questions answered and get help appealing a decision by calling the FEMA HELPLINE at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or ?TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing- and speech-impaired or online at www.fema.gov. The telephone lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice.
The counties that are designated for individual assistance in the presidential disaster declaration as a result of tornadoes and other severe weather Feb. 5-6 are Allen, Bath, Christian, Fayette, Hardin, Harrison, Hart, Hopkins, Meade, Mercer, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Shelby and Spencer.
The deadline to register is April 21.
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.