OKLAHOMA CITY - If you applied for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the May 10-13 storms, you may receive a phone call that could bring extra assistance your way.
Specialists with FEMA's Individual Assistance (IA) program have made hundreds of calls to Oklahomans who registered with FEMA after the destructive storms tore through the state. Their goal? To make sure applicants for state and federal Individual Assistance get their eligible needs met.
"FEMA is here to serve Oklahomans affected by the storms, and we're going that extra mile to help - including being diligent with follow-up calls," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton.
The reasons for those phone calls vary. Some applicants may have used nicknames on their applications rather than their given names, which results in unmatched identifications that must be confirmed. Individuals who withdrew their applications may get a call to ask why. Program specialists may need to check with insured applicants to learn the resolution of their claims and determine if they still have eligible unmet needs. And applicants with special needs - or anyone who appears to need a little extra help - can expect a follow-up call.
"Some applicants decline help, but most appreciate our efforts and the opportunity to speak to someone directly," said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe.
For many recipients, the calls have meant receiving more assistance than they thought they would. Just one example is an Oklahoma woman whose insurance settlement did not cover her housing needs. After her phone call from an IA specialist, she received two months of rental assistance to cover the time needed for home repairs.
"The applicants' needs are what we're here for, and we're going to make sure we do everything we can to help," said IA Housing Group Supervisor Annette Monet, who is overseeing the phone calls.
For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) site at www.oem.ok.gov or follow OEM on Twitter at //twitter.com/okem. Users of smart phones and other mobile devices can visit m.fema.gov.
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.