COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Survivors of the recent severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that struck Missouri between April 19 and June 6, 2011, have just a few days left to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The deadline for all storm survivors to register for FEMA assistance is Friday, July 29, 2011. That is the same deadline to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans.
Assistance may include FEMA grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest SBA disaster loans to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries, and other programs to help homeowners, renters and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Missouri has been hit with a series of weather disasters, starting with severe snow. Then spring storms repeatedly hit the state, including one of America's deadliest tornadoes. Throughout, flooding and its aftermath plagued many communities.
Missouri survivors have qualified for more than $30 million in FEMA aid and more than $30 million in SBA loans.
"We are encouraged that so many people are already receiving federal disaster assistance," said Libby Turner, the Federal Coordinating Officer. "But this is Missouri, and there may be some who have not registered because they think they don't need help."
Officials urged survivors to register, and let FEMA determine if the loss and damage qualify survivors for assistance. For instance, flood damage sometimes does not become apparent until time has passed. Even a few inches of water can be harmful.
SBA loan applications can be completed in approximately one half hour. No one is obligated to accept an SBA disaster loan. Filing the application may open the door to additional federal grants which do not need to be repaid.
The SBA can help homeowners, renters and businesses with loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace real estate, and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property damages, including automobiles. The interest rate of disaster loans for homeowners and renters may be as low as 2.688 percent, with terms up to 30 years. This makes repayment affordable. Business loans can be obtained up to $2 million.
Some other reasons to meet the July 29, 2011, deadline: insurance may prove inadequate to cover the repair or replacement costs, and an SBA loan can help close that gap; the SBA may be able to refinance existing loans to make storm recovery more affordable; and some survivors qualify for grants to replace household items, vehicles, and storage expenses.
Registering with FEMA by July 29 is easy.
Registration may be completed online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by Smartphone through m.FEMA.gov, or by calling FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). If the applicant has a speech disability or hearing loss and uses a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585 directly; if the applicant uses 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Multi-language assistance is available. Telephone registration is available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., until further notice.
Survivors are urged to complete and return the low-interest disaster loan application they received after registering with FEMA. Applications are available from Disaster Recovery Centers and online. Online help for completing your SBA loan application is also available.
Typical information required includes Social Security Numbers for all applicants and your insurance policy. In addition, copies of tax returns and financial statements may be helpful.
For more information, contact SBA's Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 1-800-659‑2955...