Columbia, Mo. – Missouri survivors of the recent devastating severe storms, flooding and tornadoes should not forego registering for federal and state disaster assistance because they think it may keep the assistance from reaching their less-fortunate neighbors.
Federal and state officials assured Missouri residents that there is enough disaster assistance available for all who qualify.
"Often times in a disaster, some people feel others have suffered more than they have, and they don't want to take money from those they think may have a greater need, especially families," said Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Federal Coordinating Officer, Libby Turner.
Still others do not register for assistance because they think accepting disaster assistance will interfere with other benefits they may be receiving. Federal and state disaster grants will not affect Social Security benefits and they are not taxable.
The disaster recovery process begins by registering with FEMA. The process is free, takes about 20 minutes and is available three ways. Applicants may register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Those with smartphones may register through m.FEMA.gov. After clicking “Apply Online for FEMA Assistance,” your call will be directed to www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Those who prefer to register by phone can call the toll-free FEMA registration line, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Individuals with a speech disability or hearing loss can use TTY 1-800-462-7585, or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362. Telephone registration is available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
FEMA is now providing individual assistance to residents in 15 Missouri counties. The Presidential Disaster Declaration now includes the counties of Butler, Cape Girardeau, Howell, Jasper, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Pulaski, Ripley, St. Louis, Scott, Stoddard, Stone, and Taney.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.