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Don't allow rumors to keep you from getting the help you need

Howard Higgins, a FEMA community relations specialist and Louis Northrup, Oklahoma Emergency Management representative talk to a resident whose home was damaged in Shawnee

Ignore rumors and recover soon with
the help of
disaster assistance program
Photo: Patsy Lynch/FEMA

Nothing travels faster than a rumor, but rumors and misunderstandings can block your path to getting the help you need to recover from the early May storms.

With less than a month left to register for help, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants you to have the right information about the many disaster assistance programs available to help you get back on the road to recovery.

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about disaster aid programs:

I registered with my local emergency management agency. Does that mean I registered with FEMA?
No. If you registered with your emergency management agency, the Red Cross, or with any other charitable organization you still need to register with FEMA. For federal and Commonwealth disaster assistance, you must first apply by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 or register online at the website of disaster assistance.

Are only low-income residents qualified for disaster assistance?
Federal aid programs are available to any eligible applicant regardless of income.

I have insurance. Should I still register with FEMA?
Insurance may not cover all your needs. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs may be able to help make up the difference.

Do I have to wait for my insurance adjuster before I apply for assistance?
You can apply for assistance before the insurance adjuster visits your property.

FEMA is helping the populace to receive right information on disaster assistance program to help them recover soon

Can I apply for a loan from the SBA even if I'm not a business owner?
. In addition to businesses, renters and homeowners may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans based on the type and extent of uninsured or underinsured losses. For information on SBA low-interest loans, residents and business owners in the designated counties should call 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339 or click here

I don't want a loan. Do I still need to fill out the SBA application?
Yes. You are not obligated to accept a loan if you don’t want one. However, if you receive an SBA loan application you must complete and return it to be eligible for 
assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. The information you provide helps FEMA determine if you qualify for this type of assistance.

I didn’t have any damage to my home but my private road to my house was damaged. Can I get help from FEMA?
Yes. FEMA’s Housing Assistance grants may be used to repair entrance and exit ways from your home including privately owned access roads or bridges. Repairs to publicly owned roads are funded through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.

Can I get help with repairs to my damaged vacation home?
FEMA only provides funds to repair your primary residence. However, the SBA may be able to provide assistance if your vacation home is used as a valid rental property.

Apply for FEMA’s disaster assistance program now to recover the disaster-related damages

I rent an apartment. Can I get help to replace my damaged property?
You may be eligible for an SBA low-interest disaster loan up to $40,000 to cover your uninsured losses for personal property. However, you must complete and return your SBA loan application package for a formal decision. FEMA provides grants to cover temporary housing needs if you have to move to a new dwelling and/or to help with serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other disaster assistance programs.

I already repaired my home. Is it too late to apply?
You should still apply. If you are a homeowner, you may be reimbursed for essential repairs if they are not covered by insurance. Keep your receipts and show them to the inspector.

Do I need to make an appointment to visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC)?   
After you register with FEMA, you are encouraged to visit a DRC if you have questions about disaster assistance programs. Information about ways to reduce damage in future weather events is also available. SBA officials can provide help completing loan applications. No appointment is necessary. 

If you have not applied for FEMA assistance, homeowners, renters, and business of all sizes who suffered disaster-related damages should apply now. You can register online at the website of disaster assistance or call 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily.  The registration deadline is July 12, 2010.

Additional information about this disaster is available on the website of FEMA and Kentucky Emergency Management(KYEM). 

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