Columbia, Mo. -- Carter, Lawrence and Wayne county residents affected by the recent devastating severe storms, and flooding should not forego registering for federal and state disaster assistance because they think it may keep 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," you 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 25 Missouri counties. The Presidential Disaster Declaration also includes the counties of Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Howell, Jasper, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Pemiscot, Pettis, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, 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.
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 lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
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 disaster 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.