COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Inspectors who collect the necessary information for survivors of the recent tornadoes to receive financial disaster assistance, often have a difficult time finding some of those who have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
After every major disaster many displaced families change addresses a number of times as they look for suitable housing. Sometimes in the process they forget to call the FEMA Helpline, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), to update their address and leave a phone number where they can be reached. Those individuals with a speech disability or a hearing loss and use a TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 to update their information. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362.
"After registering for FEMA/State disaster assistance, the first rule for obtaining assistance is keeping in touch," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner. "If we can't find you, we can't send you a check.”
Residents whose phone number has been restored may think FEMA will use that number. However, the number given at the time of registration is the only number FEMA has.
FEMA and the state emphasized that being out of contact will delay a family's recovery from the effects of the recent tornadoes and prolong the difficult living conditions.
If you are underinsured, have no insurance or if your insurance coverage does not cover additional living expenses, FEMA may be able to help. If you can't find a place to rent because of the widespread devastation, FEMA may be able to find a rental for you or provide temporary living quarters.
The deadline to apply for federal/state disaster aid is July 8, 2011. Tornado survivors may register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Those with smartphones may register through m.FEMA.gov. Those who prefer to register by phone may call the toll-free FEMA registration line, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Telephone registration is available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. Multilingual operators are available to assist you.
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.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY call 1-800-462-7585; or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362.