HELENA, Mont. -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that 15 additional counties and one reservation are now eligible for FEMA's Individual Assistance to help homeowners, renters and businesses recover from the effects of the severe storms and flooding that took place from April 4 to July 22.
Blaine, Broadwater, Carter, Chouteau, Fallon, Flathead, Golden Valley, Madison, Park, Phillips, Pondera, Powell, Rosebud, Toole, Wibaux and the Fort Peck Reservation were added to the federal disaster declaration. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster declaration for the state of Montana on June 17. It was amended on July 26 to include 16 counties and three reservations for Individual Assistance. Now a total of 31 counties and four reservations are eligible for individual assistance.
"We are pleased with the addition of these 15 counties and one reservation to the disaster declaration," said Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. "The residents in these areas need the assistance these disaster programs can provide while they recover."
"Even if you registered with the state or your county, you still need to register specifically with FEMA to be eligible for assistance," said Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Administrator Ed Tinsley. "FEMA assistance is available for recovery costs such as housing assistance, personal property, vehicle repair or replacement and moving and storage expenses.
State and federal officials encourage those affected by the disaster to register for assistance immediately by calling toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585 TTY directly. These toll-free lines are in operation from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. (MDT) until further notice. Registration can be done online anytime at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
"Until you call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or go online to DisasterAssistance.gov you are not registered," said Helena-based Federal Coordinating Officer Doug Mayne. "We want Montanans to register and get federal help as they recover from the flooding. Assistance isn't guaranteed, but if you don't register, it's guaranteed you won't get any assistance."
FEMA's Individual Assistance program includes a wide range of help, including emergency home repair, temporary disaster housing, replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs. For those insured, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered by insurance.
Officials advise applicants to have the following information available when applying for assistance:
- Current telephone number;
- Address at the time of the disaster and current address;
- Social Security number, if available;
- A general list of damages and losses suffered;
- In cases where the applicant is insured, the names of the company and agent, as well as the policy number; and
- Bank account coding for those who wish to speed up assistance by using direct deposit.
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and typically does not compensate eligible applicants for their entire losses. FEMA disaster aid is generally offered in the form of grants that do not have to be paid back.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes to repair or replace damaged or destroyed private property. SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans, low-interest working capital loans to small businesses and most private, nonprofit organizations.
SBA loan applications can be completed in approximately one half hour. No one is obligated to accept an SBA disaster loan, but filing the application may open the door to additional fed...