CLINTON, Miss. -- Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials urge residents and businesses recovering from the April 15 and April 26-27 severe storms and tornadoes to use the following tips to speed up the process of obtaining state and federal aid.
- Don't wait. Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered disaster-related damages or losses should call the FEMA registration line at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. People may also register online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Multilingual operators are available. Survivors who have registered with a county disaster relief agency have not registered with FEMA and need to do so.
- Register, even if you are insured. Some insurance coverage may not be adequate and foundation damage may not appear until later. Survivors who suffered any damage or loss should register for assistance.
- Disaster assistance covers a wide range of losses. Structural damage or repair may be covered, as well as damage to or loss of essential personal property, such as a major appliance or medical equipment such as wheelchairs.
- Keep critical appointments. A FEMA-contracted inspector will make an appointment to visit homes, usually within three days of registration. Make every effort to be at home, or 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.
- Visit a Disaster Recovery Center if you have questions or need more information. Eleven centers are open in or near 29 declared counties. Most centers are open Monday through Sunday 7 a.m-7 p.m. until further notice. The one exception is the Lafayette County center in Water Valley which is open from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sundays and 7 a.m. -7 p.m. Monday through Saturday until further notice.
- The Disaster Recovery Center Locator is a resource that allows individuals to find DRCs nearest to their location, once they are open, and includes information such as hours of operation, services offered, and driving directions. The Disaster Recovery Center Locator can be found online at www.fema.gov/drclocator or on our mobile site at m.fema.gov.
- Return all forms promptly. After registering, survivors may receive a U.S. Small Business Administration 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 Disaster Recovery Centers 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 survivors to pre-disaster conditions. It is intended to create safe and sanitary housing, and meet other critical needs to begin a 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 explain ways the money can be spent in a recovery and explain that federal assistance may have to be repaid if it is duplicated by insurance or other assistance received.
- Talk to FEMA i...