Columbia, Mo. -- State and federal disaster officials helping people recover from the severe storms, floods and tornadoes in recently declared Carter, Lawrence and Wayne counties have some tips to speed disaster assistance.
The disaster recovery process begins by registering with FEMA. The process is free, takes about 20 minutes and is available three ways. Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov . Those with Smartphones may register through m.FEMA.gov; click "Apply Online for FEMA Assistance," and you will be directed to www.DisasterAssistance.gov. If you prefer to register by phone, the toll-free FEMA registration line is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 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.
- Have some information ready when you register. When you call the FEMA number, you will need your current address, the address of the damaged property, contact information where FEMA can reach you, social security number, household composition, insurance, and income information.
- Register, even if you are insured. Your insurance may not cover everything and some damage may not show up until later. Do not wait until you have settled with your insurer to register with FEMA.
- Return all forms promptly. You may receive a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loan application package in the mail. Even if you are not interested in a loan, complete the loan package and return it promptly. The SBA application is a necessary step to being considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. If you have questions about SBA programs, call 1-800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov.
- Remember, disaster assistance covers a wide range of losses. Disaster-related damage or loss of personal property, may qualify for some form of federal assistance. Let FEMA determine your eligibility; don't disqualify yourself.
- Stay in touch and keep appointments after you have registered. A contracted FEMA inspector will make an appointment to visit your property. Make every effort to meet the inspector on site. Call 1-800-621-3362, and choose the Helpline option if you need to change the appointment. All FEMA inspectors have photo ID FEMA badges. Do not hesitate to ask to see proof of identification if it is not apparent. There are no fees for FEMA inspections.
- Stay informed by accessing important disaster assistance information and resources on FEMA's new mobile website. Access critical information regarding disaster recovery and emergency preparedness directly from your Smartphone at m.fema.gov.
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.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing ...