LINCOLN, Neb. -- Many Nebraskans suffered losses after the storms, tornadoes and flooding from May 22 - June 24, 2008. According to officials of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Nebraskans may have questions about grants and low-interest loans for which they may be eligible. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about disaster assistance:?
How do I apply?
There are two ways to register for disaster assistance. Residents can apply online at www.fema.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired.
Is there a deadline for applying?
Yes. You must register by August 19, 2008.
What kinds of assistance are available?
The Individual Assistance program includes grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other aid programs. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance. Grants do not have to be repaid, but loans from the SBA must be repaid. For small businesses only, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.
If you get an SBA Disaster Loan application in the mail, you must complete and return it in order to be considered for a loan and other types of assistance. For SBA questions, contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.
Am I eligible for Individual Assistance if I already have insurance?
You should apply for assistance even if you have insurance, because you may find you are under-insured or have unmet needs after your insurance settlement. If you have not already contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, please do this as soon as possible. Failure to file a claim with your insurance company may affect your eligibility for assistance. Insurance is your main source for money to put your life back in order after a disaster. But there are many things that insurance does not cover, so disaster programs may be able to help.
I have registered. What happens next?
After you apply, FEMA will mail you a copy of your application and a copy of "Help After a Disaster: Applicant's Guide to the Individuals and Households Program," which will answer many of your questions.
This useful publication explains how FEMA's disaster assistance program works; describes help you may be eligible for from other federal, state and voluntary agencies; and gives you many important tips on how to make all these programs work for you.
Will my damages be inspected by FEMA?
If your home or its contents are damaged and you do not have insurance, an inspector should contact you within a few days after you apply to schedule a time to meet you at your damaged home. All inspectors carry photo ID that shows they are affiliated with the U.S. government.
How can I check the status of my case?
Go to www.fema.gov or call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired.
Do I have to be a legal U.S. resident to receive Individual Assistance from FEMA?
Yes. To be eligible for cash assistance from FEMA you must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien. A qualified alien generally includes individuals who are lawful permanent residents (possessing an alien registration receipt card) or those with legal status due to asylum, refugee, parole (admission into the U.S. for humanitarian purposes), with...