FEMA Offers Assistance To Flood Victims

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Live Oak, Florida- July 6, 2012

FEMA has set up a disaster recovery center in Live Oak, Florida to help flood victims.

It's at the Suwannee County Coliseum on 11th Street.
They're helping people apply for federal disaster aid assistance.
Federal aid was made available Wednesday for 11 counties impacted by Tropical Storm Debby.
President Barack Obama declared Florida a major disaster area Tuesday.

FEMA has set up a disaster recovery center at the Suwannee County Coliseum on 11th Street in Live Oak for people who are needing to apply for federal disaster aid assistance or to ask questions about FEMA.

More information:

Federal aid was made available Wednesday for those impacted by Tropical Storm Debby.

Those living in Suwannee and Columbia counties can now apply for assistance.
 President Barack Obama declared Florida a major disaster area Tuesday, July 3, thus opening the door for federal aid.

Tropical Storm Debby made landfall June 27 in Steinhatchee. Impacts from the storm were felt statewide. Downtown Live Oak was hit hard with major flooding that displaced several residents. Sinkholes continue to plague Suwannee County and a flooded river added to the problems.

Who can apply

Residents and business owners who sustained losses from Tropical Storm Debby can begin applying for assistance now.

How to apply

Those that would like to register for federal assistance can do so online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov. For web based mobile devices, that address is m.fema.gov. You can also call 1-800-621 FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). The numbers will operate from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., local times, seven days a week until further notice. 
The best way to apply is online so the individual can avoid busy signals on the telephone. If the information is gathered prior to starting the application, the process should take about 20 minutes. If you don’t have access to the Internet where you live, check with the local library. 
To check the status of a submitted application, just go to DisasterAssistance.gov.
FEMA will ask for the following information:

* The telephone number where you can be reached;

* The address where you lived at the time of the disaster and the address where you are staying;

* Your Social Security number;

* A general description of damage to your property and other losses;

* The name of your insurance company and policy number or agent if you have property insurance; and

* Your bank account routing information if you want FEMA to use direct deposit.

About 10 days after submitting an application, an appointment will be scheduled between you and an inspector so they can visit the property and assess disaster-related damage to real and personal property. The inspection is free. The inspector will only file a report and will not disclose eligibility. They are not FEMA workers, but contractors. You should receive a letter from FEMA about 10 days after the inspection which will tell you if you are eligible or not.
If you are eligible, a check will be sent or a direct deposit made. If not eligible, an appeal can be made.

What’s covered

Federal disaster assistance helps eligible applicants with temporary housing, uninsured personal property losses and medical, dental expenses caused by the disaster, along with other disaster-related expenses and serious needs.

* Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.

* Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.

* Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.

* Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.

* Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.

* Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million.

* Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.

* Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans benefits and social security matters.