OKLAHOMA CITY – The deadline for registering with FEMA for disaster assistance has passed, but that does not mean FEMA is leaving. The agency continues working with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) on the recovery process for the severe storms and flooding that took place in the spring.
If you have registered for disaster assistance, FEMA encourages you to keep in touch to track your case and to report insurance settlements or additional damage you may have discovered since your home inspection.
Applicants have the right to appeal FEMA’s eligibility decisions, including the amount of the grant. Oklahoma survivors who don’t agree with FEMA’s eligibility decision may file an appeal within 60 days of receiving their determination letter. Appeals must be made in writing explaining why the agency should re-evaluate its decision and sent by mail or fax to FEMA.
For more information on filing an appeal or other information, survivors can contact the FEMA assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) anytime from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
The application deadline for a U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan for physical damages also has passed. In the event of extenuating circumstances, disaster loan applications may be accepted on a case by case basis after the deadline. For information, call the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, email disastercustomerservice@SBA.gov, or visit SBA’s website at sba.gov/disaster. If you are deaf, hard-of-hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-877-8339.
Those who would still like to purchase flood insurance can contact the National Flood Insurance Program Call Center at 800-427-4661 or visit https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program for more information. FEMA funds NFIP and encourages homeowners and renters in Oklahoma to purchase and maintain flood insurance even if they are not in a Special Flood Plain Hazard Area (SFHA). About 25 percent of flood insurance claims are paid out to people who don’t live in high-risk flood areas.
Survivors who may be encountering legal problems, such as landlord-tenant issues, mortgage foreclosures or disputes with contractors can get free legal advice by calling 888-602-8494 (leave a message and contact information) or by going to www.okbar.org/disaster (complete a short legal assistance form). Representation or legal services beyond basic information may require the client and attorney to enter into a separate agreement.
As of Friday, Aug. 16:
• More than $14.7 million in Individual Assistance and Housing grants from FEMA has been approved for residents to repair and rebuild homes and other needs.
• More than $32.1 million has been approved in SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners.
• More than $32.8 million in NFIP claims has been approved.
• FEMA and OEM operated five fixed disaster recovery centers and nine mobile DRCs in 29 different locations throughout the affected areas of Oklahoma. These centers received over 2,000 visits.
• In addition, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams visited 25,242 homes and talked to 31,255 survivors about recovery efforts and to help them register.
• Over 11,000 people have been provided information from FEMA’s Mitigation Outreach specialists on how to rebuild to lessen future damage.
Voluntary agencies, such as faith-based and community organizations, may be able to provide help when all other avenues have been exhausted. In Oklahoma, Catholic Charities has been assisting survivors with information and resources to help them with the recovery process. Survivors still in need can contact Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City at 405-523-3013 and Catholic Charities Eastern Oklahoma at 918-935-2650. Online at: https://cceok.org/
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FEMA's mission is to help before, during and after disasters.
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 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 businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters 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. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.