BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Disaster recovery officials urge Vermonters who have registered with FEMA to contact them if they have questions or need to provide a change in application information, such as a new contact address or phone number.
Statistics show that three out of every 10 applicants forget to let FEMA know when they have moved or changed phone numbers. This can possibly delay payments to individuals.
Within 10 business days of registering with FEMA, an applicant should receive a packet containing details of the disaster assistance program, a copy of the application and referrals to other potential assistance.
If applicants have questions about any letter from FEMA, they should call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY at 800-462-7585). Phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
They can use this same phone number to find the nearest disaster recovery center or check online at www.fema.gov/drclocator. The centers are staffed with recovery specialists from various federal, state and local agencies and organizations who can answer questions about disaster assistance programs.
Those who register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or at FEMA's mobile website, m.fema.gov can update their contact information and check the progress of their application online. The website also helps to reduce the number of forms you have to fill out and shortens the time it takes to apply for aid.
Vermonters may receive a letter from FEMA if they missed an appointment with an inspector, need to submit additional documentation or failed to return paperwork.
Certain paperwork must be completed, such as a loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA loans are not just for small businesses -- they also offer low-interest disaster loans for homeowners and renters. No one is required to accept a loan, but those registrants who receive an SBA packet in the mail, must complete and return the loan application to be considered for additional FEMA grants. If you have questions about SBA programs, call 800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.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; or call 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS).
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov or completed on-line at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
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.