PIERRE, S.D. -- People who might have flood-related damage this winter – such as from frost heave, sinkholes or soil settling – should register for disaster assistance now, before the deadline, disaster officials said today.
“You may not have any visible damage yet, but it could show up later,” said State Coordinating Officer Kristi Turman of the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management. “If your home or business was near the floodwater or high water table, we encourage you to register now with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If you wait until after the deadline, and then your basement walls crack or floor buckles, you could have a huge expense and it would be too late to register.”
Homeowners and landlords whose buildings were in or near the high water are encouraged to register with FEMA before the October 24 deadline, Turman said. Once they are registered, they may be eligible for aid if new damage caused by the flood develops. However, if they have not registered by October 24, they will not be eligible for federal aid even if new damage develops.
Turman also encouraged homeowners and landlords to fill out and turn in loan applications with the Small Business Administration by the SBA’s deadline of October 24. Damage to basement floors or walls could cost more than FEMA grants would be able to pay. The SBA loans for home repairs can be for up to $200,000 at interest rates as low as 2.563%, with terms up to 30 years. There is no cost to apply and SBA does not charge fees, points or closing costs. Applicants may apply online via SBA’s secure Web site at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Those who fill out and return the loan forms by October 24 will have plenty of time later to decide if they need or want the loan. Applicants may request an increase to their approved loan if they find additional disaster damage.
“Register now, even though you may not qualify for aid now,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Gary Stanley. “Then you may be eligible for help later if you find new damage. You call back to our same phone line, give your registration number and tell us you have new damage, and we will take a look at itt.”
Frost heave results when the frost line is deep enough to be near groundwater and form ice layers that lift the soil. Information about preventing damage from frost heave is available from North Dakota State University at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ageng/structu/ae1594.pdf.
Homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the disaster can register for assistance 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.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA at (800) 659-2955, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339.
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