Disaster Officials Offer Tips to Speed Assistance

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Release date: 
April 1, 2008
Release Number: 

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Disaster recovery officials urge residents and businesses dealing with tornado and severe storm damage and loss to adopt a take-charge action plan to help speed the possibility of obtaining state and federal disaster aid:

Register Now:

  • Don't wait. Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered disaster-related damage or loss should call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) registration line at?800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech impaired. Online registration is available at www.fema.gov.? Multilingual operators are available. The deadline is May 19.
  • Register, even if you are insured. Your insurance coverage may not be adequate and some foundation damage may not appear until later. Anyone who suffered any damage or loss should register for assistance.
  • Disaster assistance covers a wide range of losses. Structural damage or repair is covered, as is damage or loss of essential personal property, such as a major appliance or medical equipment (wheelchairs, etc).

After Registering:

  • Keep critical appointments. A FEMA-contracted inspector will make an appointment to visit your home, usually within two to three days. Make every effort to be at home or you can authorize an agent to be present. Use the Helpline option at the FEMA registration toll-free number(s) for contact updates, including your agent's name, a new phone number or to change appointment times.
  • Return all forms promptly. After registering, you may receive a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application package in the mail. Fill out and return these forms promptly since they are an essential part of the disaster-assistance process. SBA representatives at DRCs will assist in completing your SBA home or business disaster loan application as well as answer any of your questions.
  • Stay in touch. Use the Helpline for answers to your questions about federal assistance, the same number you called to register for aid.
  • Have realistic expectations: Disaster assistance should not be expected to restore you to pre-disaster conditions. It is intended to help you get safe and sanitary housing and meet other critical needs so you can begin your long-term recovery.
  • Please read all FEMA letters and documents. Applicants deemed eligible for disaster assistance will receive a letter from FEMA providing guidance on their disaster relief grant. It will tell you about ways the money can be spent in your recovery and advises that federal assistance may have to be repaid if it is duplicated by insurance or other assistance received.
  • Talk to FEMA if you have questions, especially about insurance. If you receive a FEMA letter saying your application has been denied, it often means that one or more aspects of your application requires further information or correction. An "INS-Insured" denial does not necessarily mean "case closed," it means you must first settle with your insurer to prevent any duplication of payments.
  • Keep FEMA in mind after your insurance settlement. You may have been underinsured and some uncompensated losses may be eligible for some form of disaster aid. Call the Helpline if your insurance settlement is delayed, if it does not cover your loss, if you can't find rental housing in your area or if your additional living expense benefit is exhausted. Failure to file a claim with your insurer within 12 months can affect your eligibility for FEMA assistance.
  • Be ...
Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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