BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Did a tornado leave you with a pile of disaster-related medical or dental bills? Unexpected costs for other essentials?
The Other Needs Assistance program, administered by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, can help with necessary expenses and serious disaster needs not covered by insurance or other sources of assistance.
“Disaster aid isn’t limited to repairing or rebuilding homes,” said Jeff Byard, the state coordinating officer in charge of tornado recovery in Alabama. “Other Needs Assistance helps with the other losses and disaster expenses that can make it hard for people to get back on their feet.”
For instance, if you needed treatment for injuries caused by a tornado, the program may be able to reimburse you for out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by your insurance. If a tornado destroyed your medications or medical equipment and caused an illness or medical emergency, the program may help cover eligible costs.
Dental costs relating to the disaster such as tooth damage, dental surgery or dentures that were lost during a tornado also may be considered.
Other Needs Assistance funding may be available to help a family pay for the funeral of a relative when the death was caused by a tornado.
Additional program assistance may be available if household income is below a certain level or if a tornado survivor doesn’t qualify for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
To determine eligibility for a disaster loan, a homeowner or renter must complete the application received from SBA and return it.
People who can’t afford a loan or who receive a loan too small to cover their unmet needs may then be referred to the Other Needs Assistance program. Grants may be available for a range of necessities, including:
- Repair or replacement of certain personal property, such as clothing, household furnishings, appliances, tools or computers needed to work.
- Repair or replacement of disaster-damaged vehicles.
- Moving and storage of personal property to avoid further damage while disaster repairs are made to the home.
The disaster assistance registration deadline is June 27, including the Other Needs Assistance program.
“Time is running out, so you should apply as soon as possible,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Byrne of FEMA. “Don’t try to second guess your eligibility. If you suffered tornado damage, talk to our specialists and keep your options open.”
You can register using the following methods:
- By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time. Assistance is available in many languages. The TTY number is 800-462-7585.
- By smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov.
- By computer, go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
Anyone with questions about their application or where they are in the process should call the FEMA helpline (800-621-3362/TTY 800-462-7585) or visit a recovery center.
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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, na...