OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans in Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties affected by the recent severe storms and tornadoes can now apply for assistance from the state of Oklahoma and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Individuals and business owners in the designated counties can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
Here in Oklahoma, Individual Assistance specialists are working side by side with their state counterparts to assist residents in their recovery efforts. They urge residents to be practical, proactive and realistic during their recovery from the recent storms and tornadoes.
To aid in recovery, Oklahoma and FEMA officials offer these tips and strategies for individuals facing new post-disaster realities:
Don't wait. Applicants should contact their insurance agents as soon as possible;
Register with FEMA even if insured. Once enrolled, the applicant retains the option of possible state-federal help, especially if underinsured;
There is no magic wand. Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only. It normally will not compensate individuals for their entire loss;
A low-cost disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a major source of recovery funding. Disaster loan applications from the SBA must be completed and returned. No one will be forced to accept a loan he or she does not want, but the information on the application is needed to determine eligibility for other federal assistance;
The recovery process is designed to be responsive to individual and household needs. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and FEMA are placing Registration Intake Centers in hard-hit communities so recovery specialists can talk directly with storm survivors to answer questions and provide disaster information. It helps to register with FEMA before visiting a Disaster Recovery Center and to bring relevant paperwork whenever possible;
Funds received by applicants may be used ONLY for designated disaster-related expenses. This is strictly enforced. Specific information regarding how that money may be used, or cannot be used, is provided when the money is disbursed to applicants;
Stay in touch with FEMA throughout the recovery process. Make sure FEMA has current contact information, including a phone number and address. Applicants can also check the status of their applications at www.disasterassistance.gov; and
Disaster recovery takes time. Disasters are major disruptive events, and it helps to have realistic expectations of what can be done and how long it takes.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against emergencies and disasters. The department delivers service to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through a network of more than 350 local emergency managers.
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.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.