MADISON, Wis. -- Understanding FEMA's assistance and being prepared for the on-site property inspection can cut the time it takes to get disaster aid, state and local officials said today.? Assistance with housing needs and necessary expenses may be available to Wisconsin residents affected by the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.
Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials say that the first step is to register with FEMA.? If you live in one of the 22 counties in which President Bush has authorized aid to individuals, you should call, toll-free, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or, for those with speech or hearing impairments, (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. ?You can also register via FEMA's Web site, www.fema.gov.
When you register, you are assigned a FEMA application number.? If you have questions after you apply, or if the information you provide changes, call the FEMA Helpline at the above numbers.? When calling, have your application number ready.
After you apply, an inspector will contact you to make an appointment to visit your property to assess the damage related to the disaster.? There is no fee for the inspection.? Although inspectors are contractors, not FEMA employees, they will have FEMA identification. You must be present for your scheduled appointment so you can provide the inspector with proof of ownership and occupancy.
Proof of ownership includes items such as your deed, tax records, mortgage payment book, or a copy of your dwelling's insurance policy with an address that lists you as the owner.? Proof of occupancy includes items such as your driver's license address, any first-class government mail sent to you within the last three months or recent utility bills in your name at that address.
The inspector will ask you to sign a form authorizing FEMA to verify the information you have provided.? Inspectors file your report but do not determine your eligibility.
Following the inspector's visit, you will receive a letter from FEMA informing you of the decision regarding your request for help. If you are eligible, the letter will be followed by a U.S. Treasury/state check or a transfer of cash to your bank account. The letter will explain how the money can be used. You should use the money given to you as explained in the letter.?
If you are not eligible for help, the letter will explain why. and inform you of your right to appeal FEMA's decision.
If you are referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for an SBA low-interest disaster loan, you will receive an SBA application.? By completing and returning it to the SBA, you keep open the possibility for further federal assistance
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.