MADISON, Wis. -- Residents of five counties can use a toll-free application telephone number and on-line registration to apply for assistance recovering from damage caused by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that have occurred since June 5.
President Bush issued a disaster declaration on Saturday for Columbia, Crawford, Milwaukee, Sauk and Vernon counties. The declaration authorized FEMA Individual Assistance for eligible applicants. Other counties may be added after further evaluation.
The Individual Assistance program includes a wide range of aid, including emergency home repair, temporary disaster housing, replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or assistance programs.
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy.
State and federal officials encourage those affected by the disaster to apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or going online to www.fema.gov. The toll-free line will be in operation 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairments may call TTY 1-800-462-7585.
Officials remind affected residents they must register with FEMA at the above numbers or Web site to be eligible for federal assistance. Filing damage reports with state or county emergency managers or voluntary agencies will not start the federal disaster-assistance process.
All residents are also encouraged to get involved with the recovery by helping spread the word about available assistance. Tell your neighbor.
When applying for help, be sure to have the following information available:
- Your current telephone number;
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you now are staying;
- Your Social Security number, if available;
- A general list of damages and losses you suffered;
- If insured, the name of your company or agent and your policy number;
- General financial information;
- Bank account coding if you wish to speed up your assistance with direct deposit.
Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other help may come in the form of low-interest loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property.
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 terrorism.