CHARLESTON, W. Va. – State and FEMA officials moved Friday to limit any confusion that might arise about the recent re-designation of Lincoln County as eligible for the FEMA Individual and Households Assistance Program.
“In essence, West Virginia has had two separate disasters declared by President Obama,” said Deanne Criswell, FEMA’s Charleston-based federal coordinating officer. “The first, declared on March 15, was for damages sustained in the storms from February 29 through March 5. The second, declared on March 22, was for damages sustained in the flooding from March 15 through March 31.” These are called “incident periods,” according to Criswell.
FEMA has applied its system of assigning a number to each declared disaster to these two events. The first is DR-4059 and the second is DR-4061, she said. “In the case of Lincoln County, it has been assigned both numbers, and it is important for survivors to know that registering with FEMA for one disaster does not register you for the other.”
Thus anyone who sustained damages or other losses from the flooding that occurred between March 15 and March 31 will need to register with FEMA under DR-4061, even if he or she had already registered under DR-4059.
People seeking aid or clarity about the registration process need only phone FEMA’s toll-free Help Line at 800-621-3362 to speak to a representative and supply some basic information. Operators are standing by from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week, Criswell said. “The process is fast and simple. Even if you are unsure if you qualify, call FEMA and let us determine your eligibility. ”
Registration is also available online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. From a cell phone or other PDA, the address is m.fema.gov. Those with hearing or speech disabilities can use the TTY number, 800-462-7585. For those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
Applicants should be ready to supply FEMA with his or her current contact information (mailing address, phone number, e-mail address or that of a friend or relative who can reach the applicant), a Social Security number of any household member, the address of the damaged property, a brief description of the problems and, if appropriate, any information about insurance coverage one might or might not have. The FEMA representative may ask for some other data, like the number of people residing in the property and the family’s gross annual income. All this information is critical to the process and will be kept in strict confidence by FEMA, Criswell said.
After registering with FEMA, applicants will be given a case number so they can follow the progress of their applications and to use when speaking to other FEMA personnel. To check on the status of one’s application, he or she can call the FEMA Help Line or visit the Disaster Recovery Center at 2270 Mud Fork Road in Logan. This information will be available after 24 hours of initially registering with FEMA.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.