Madison, Wis. -- Disaster assistance often provides benefits not offered by insurance. That is why Wisconsin residents affected by recent severe storms and ongoing flooding are urged by Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for assistance even if they have insurance.
"We want everyone who is eligible for assistance to receive help as soon as possible," said Federal Coordinating Officer Dolph Diemont of FEMA. "By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers, but we may be able to help with some disaster-related expenses." Diemont was appointed by the president to lead the U.S. government side of joint federal/state disaster operations.
Residents of the following Wisconsin counties are eligible for individual disaster assistance: Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago.
Disaster assistance can include grants to help pay for:
- Temporary housing, emergency home repairs and rental assistance;
- Medical, dental and funeral expenses;
- Repairing wells and septic tanks;
- Essential personal property;
- Transportation; and
- Miscellaneous items.
In addition, low-interest disaster loans are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners and renters as well as for business owners.
"Call to register with FEMA now," said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Johnnie Smith. "Then call again after receiving your insurance settlement to update your information."
Applicants can call the FEMA toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairment. Telephone lines are open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.? Residents also can register online at www.fema.gov 24 hours a day.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- FEMA by law cannot duplicate what insurance already covers and it cannot pay deductibles;
- Applicants will be asked to submit proof of the insurance settlement; and
- Applicants should save receipts for expenses that may be eligible and be ready to show them to the inspector when he or she visits to assess damage.
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.