PASADENA, Calif. -- Californians who suffered losses from the November wildfires have just one week left to apply for federal and state disaster assistance. Tuesday, January 20, 2009, is the last day to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free number 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or go online at the new multi-agency disaster help website, www.disasterassistance.gov, to register for assistance.
The telephone lines are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and closed on the weekend. ?They will be open on Martin Luther King, Jr., day, Monday, January 19. The website can be accessed any time.
Once registered, applicants can track the status of their case by calling the same toll-free telephone number, or at the website.
"Maybe some have not registered because they have fire insurance and assume that they are not eligible for FEMA assistance," said Mark Neveau, federal coordinating officer for the disaster. "It costs nothing to register and it is the only way to find out if assistance is available."
Neveau said there is no need to wait for an insurance settlement before registering. FEMA will not make a final determination of eligibility until any insurance claims have been settled. ?"That may not happen until after the registration deadline," Neveau said.
The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) deadline for filing disaster loan applications is Wednesday, January 21, 2009.
"Registering with FEMA allows applicants to be considered for assistance from FEMA if they exhaust their insurance and still have eligible unmet needs," said Tom Maruyama, deputy state coordinating officer. "It also enables them to be considered for a State Supplemental Grant from the Department of Social Services if they have eligible unmet needs after insurance and receiving the maximum FEMA grant."
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.