PIERRE, S.D. -- Some South Dakotans are missing out on federal disaster aid because they think they have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency but they have not.
In August, the governor asked residents with flood damage to call a state hotline to report their damage. The information from those calls helped the state gather data to support a disaster request to President Obama for a declaration that allows financial aid to be given to homeowners, renters and businesses with damage or lost income from the floods. However, having called the state hotline to report damage, or telling other emergency officials about the damage, is not the same as registering with FEMA.
"If you registered with us, you have a registration number," said Mark Neveau, Federal Coordinating Officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in South Dakota. "You may have told other people about your damage, you may even have told someone from FEMA you had damage, but if you do not have a registration number from us we do not know you need help."
Community Relations employees from FEMA report meeting many residents who had damage and who think they have registered with FEMA because they reported their damage on the state's hotline or to a disaster official.
"No official can register people with FEMA," said State Coordinating Officer Kristi Turman. "You have to do that yourself. One person from each household or business needs to contact FEMA directly."
Homeowners, renters or businesses with physical damage or lost income because of the floods from March 11 through July 22 can register by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585, or by going online at www.disasterassistance.gov. The toll-free line will be in operation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT seven days a week until further notice.
Persons affected by the floods can also apply for federal assistance through a web-enabled mobile device or Smartphone by going to m.fema.gov and following the link to apply online for federal assistance and other recovery help.
Officials advise applicants to have the following information available when applying for assistance:
- Current telephone number
- Address at the time of the disaster and current address
- Social Security number
- A general list of damages and losses
- If insured, the name of the company, agent, and policy number
- Bank account and routing number for direct deposit of funds if you become eligible
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.