PELHAM, Ala. -- Nearly six weeks after tornadoes struck Alabama, more than $2.5 million in state and federal aid has been approved to help those affected by the storms.
More than 1,400 survivors have contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help or information regarding disaster assistance. Many people are seeking housing assistance from FEMA because their primary homes have been damaged or destroyed.
Survivors who do not need FEMA disaster assistance or who may have additional needs are referred by FEMA to partner agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. FEMA also can refer survivors to groups and agencies who can help them with disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling and legal aid.
Snapshot of federal assistance
The following is a snapshot of federal disaster assistance for individuals, families and businesses as of Feb. 29:
- More than $2.5 million in total federal assistance for individuals and families, including:
- More than $811,000 in FEMA individual assistance grants for individuals and families; and
- More than $1.7 million in low-interest SBA disaster loans for renters, homeowners and businesses.
- Nearly 900 visits to the five disaster recovery centers;
- 714 property inspections have been completed;
- 792 low-interest disaster home loan application forms distributed by SBA to survivors.
FEMA registration deadline
Survivors in Chilton, Jefferson and Perry counties have until April 2 to register for federal assistance through FEMA. Survivors who have insurance can and should register with FEMA as insurance settlements may not cover all damages. Once registered, it is important that all insurance documentation and any information regarding claims are forwarded to FEMA. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits, including insurance claims. However, the agency may bridge any gaps in coverage once the insurance claim is settled.
Registering with FEMA is simple. Survivors can call 800-621-FEMA (3362), which is video relay service accessible, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Assistance is available in most languages. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (TTY) 800-462-7585. They can also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or with a tablet or smartphone by visiting m.fema.gov.
Keep options open with low-interest disaster loans
April 2 also is the deadline to return completed low-interest SBA disaster loan applications. People who received loan application packets from SBA should complete and return the applications to SBA to keep their recovery options open – even if they do not think they need a loan now. Survivors are encouraged to apply to SBA before insurance is settled. Survivors do not have to accept a loan if one is offered. But by completing and returning the application, other federal assistance in the form of grants may become available.
To apply for disaster loans electronically th...