NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennesseans who suffered losses during the severe storms and tornadoes of early February should register for state or federal assistance, before the April 7 deadline at 5 p.m., CST. Even though they believe their own insurance will take care of everything, it may be after they get their final insurance settlement that many renters, home, property and business owners learn what is not covered.
"Insurance is an important part of the recovery process," said Gracia Szczech, federal coordinating officer for Tennessee storm recovery. "But insurance may not meet all your needs, so registration with FEMA and staying in touch with FEMA is very important."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security?s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offer assistance programs for homeowners, renters, and business owners in 18 Tennessee counties designated for Individual Assistance.
Even those who are insured for their damages should register so eligibility can be determined. After an insurance claim has been paid there may be uninsured losses that could be eligible under disaster assistance programs or SBA loans.
"It is important to know what your policy covers," said James Bassham, Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. "For example, if insurance does not include the expense of being displaced from your home, FEMA disaster housing assistance may help," he said.
Tennesseans who live in Benton, Fayette, Hardin, Haywood, Hickman, Houston, Lewis, Macon, Madison, McNairy, Montgomery, Perry, Shelby, Sumner, Tipton, Trousdale, Wayne, or Williamson counties should call the FEMA registration line: 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for persons with special speech or hearing needs, and register for assistance by April 7, 2008. Registration line hours are from 7 a.m. ? 5 p.m., CST, Monday-Friday. Applicants may also register any time online at www.fema.gov .
The deadline for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations who suffered property damages from the storm to return their loan applications to SBA is also April 7.
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be in the Disaster Recovery Centers to answer questions about registering for disaster assistance and hazard mitigation measures.
SBA representatives are at the Disaster Recovery Center to meet individually with each resident or business owner to answer any questions about SBA's disaster loan program, help them complete their SBA disaster loan application and accept their completed applications. Anyone not able to go to a Disaster Recovery Center should call the SBA Customer Service Center: 800-659-2955 for SBA information and assistance or visit the SBA website: www.sba.gov.
FEMA?s 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, an applicant must complete an SBA loan application to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
All FEMA assistance is subject to eligibility criteria and may vary from disaster to disaster. SBA eligibility criteria are applied to all applicants. Applicants who do not qualify for an SBA loan are reviewed for FEMA grant assistance in compliance with the limits established by the state.
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...