HELENA, Mont. -- Disaster recovery can be a lengthy process but a critical first step is applying for assistance. The online site www.DisasterAssistance.gov can assist individuals in taking charge of their recovery.
DisasterAssistance.gov is a government-run website that brings disaster help and information from multiple agencies together in one place. Information on almost 70 forms of government assistance from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Office of Personnel Management, Social Security Administration and the Small Business Administration is available.
Residents in sixteen Montana counties and three Reservations became eligible for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on July 26. Disaster assistance is money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses whose property has been damaged or destroyed by the disaster and whose losses are not covered by insurance.
Grants from FEMA will pay for some expenses that are not covered by personal insurance or other forms of assistance. FEMA assistance covers basic needs only and typically does not compensate applicants for their entire losses. FEMA grants in combination with other assistance will help get homes and businesses back to pre-disaster condition.
Homeowners, renters and business owners must register for disaster assistance directly with FEMA. Registration should be completed where access to personal and financial information is available. To register, call 1-800-621-3362 or go online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or m.fema.gov with any mobile device.
Anyone can take the disaster assistance questionnaire from the DisasterAssistance.gov homepage to receive a comprehensive list of assistance that is tailored for each individual's specific situation. If disaster assistance from FEMA is applicable, online registration is available by clicking "Start Registration."
Once someone registers for assistance from either the website or by phone, the status of applications can be tracked from the DisasterAssistance.gov homepage by clicking on "Check Your Application Status" located on the bottom of the page.
After registering for assistance online, you may receive an application for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Completing an SBA low-interest disaster loan application is an essential step in recovery. FEMA does not require that an applicant file for an SBA loan. However, an applicant must fill out and return an SBA loan application to be eligible for additional assistance under the part of the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. Even if you have insurance, you should apply with SBA.
There are other ONA grants such as public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses that do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan to be eligible. FEMA will process applications for housing assistance regardless of whether the applicant has applied for an SBA loan and eligibility determinations for applicants requesting FEMA's temporary housing assistance will not be held up because the applicant has or has not filled out an SBA application.
The 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, nonprofit organizations fund repairs and rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loan...