COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Additional opportunities to register for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be provided by the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and FEMA at the AAA office in Joplin Thursday, Aug. 11, and at senior centers Aug. 18.
Seniors and people with access and functional needs affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from April 19 to June 6, 2011, may need a hand applying for disaster assistance before the registration deadline on Aug. 26, according to state and federal disaster officials.
The AAA office is located at 531 East 15th St. and will be staffed with FEMA Community Relations (CR) representatives from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CR and AAA staff will be able to answer questions about registration from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the following senior centers:
- Webb City Senior Center, 210 North Pennsylvania Ave., Webb City, Mo.;
- The Center in Carl Junction, 303 North Main St., Carl Junction, Mo.;
- The Center for Senior in Neosho, 1017 Carl Sweeny Parkway, Neosho, Mo; and
- CANDO Senior Center, 404 E. Third St., Carthage, Mo.
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). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585 directly; to use 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.
Family members, friends or neighbors can make the call with the affected senior or person with disabilities to help them through the registration process.
Disaster assistance grants are not considered taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
Concerns about a reduction in Social Security benefits should not keep seniors from applying for federal disaster assistance, according to disaster recovery officials.
Assistance can include Housing Assistance, moving and storage expenses, essential personal property, vehicle repair/replacement, disaster-related medical, dental and funeral expenses.
Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters also may be eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Business owners may obtain business loans up to $2 million.
It is important to complete the SBA loan package and return it promptly. Survivors are under no obligation to accept the loan if approved. The SBA application is a necessary step in the recovery process and to be considered for other forms of FEMA disaster assistance
Individual assistance is available to people in 25 Missouri counties: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Howell, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Pemiscot, Pettis, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, St. Louis, Scott, Stoddard, Stone, Taney and Wayne.
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.