Senator James L. Seward has offered sometips to speed disaster aid for those recovering from the floods of June 26-28.
1. Register by telephone or online as soon as possible. Homeowners, renters, and business owners who had flood losses should call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to apply for assistance. Individuals with hearing or speech impairments should call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily. You can also register online at www.fema.gov. The State of New York’s number for disaster assistance is 1-888-7-NYS-AID (1-888-769-7243) or (TTY) NYS Relay 711. You can also register online for the State Individual and Family Grant Program at www.labor.state.ny.us. The state lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
2. Have some simple information ready when you apply. When you call the FEMA or state number, have some important information at hand such as your current address; the address of the damaged property; phone information; insurance information; and your social security number.
3. Register, even if you are insured. Your insurance coverage may not cover everything and some foundation damage may not show up until later. Even if you have insurance, you can register with FEMA and the state for uninsured losses.
4. Remember, disaster assistance covers a wide range of flood losses. Disaster-related damage or loss of personal property, anything from a wheelchair to a major appliance, may qualify for some form of federal/state assistance.
5. Stay in touch and keep appointments after you have registered for disaster assistance. A FEMA inspector will make an appointment to visit your home. A state inspector will also make an appointment to visit the damaged property. Make every effort to be at the damaged property for the visit and call if you need to change the appointment.
6. Visit a Disaster Assistance Service Center to meet face-to-face with recovery specialists. If you have questions or need more information, you can go to centers open in: Broome County at Binghamton High School, 31 Main Street in Binghamton; Delaware County at Walton High School on Stockton Avenue in Walton; Herkimer County, Herkimer County BOCES, 352 Gros Boulevard in Herkimer; Montgomery County at Fonda-Fultonville Middle School, 112 Old Johnston Road in Fonda; Otsego County at SUNY Campus, Lee Hall, Ravena Parkway in Oneonta; and Sullivan County at the Sullivan International Airport Terminal Building, County Road 183A in White Lake.Disaster Assistance Service Centers are one-stop shopping for disaster recovery information. However, to register with FEMA, you need to make that telephone call or register online. Centers are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. No FEMA or State money is distributed at Disaster Assistance Service Centers.
7. Return all forms promptly. After registering, you may receive a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loan application package in the mail. Fill out and return these forms promptly or visit a Disaster Assistance Service Center for SBA assistance. Even if you aren’t interested in a loan, complete the loan package and return it; filling out the SBA application is a necessary step to being considered for other forms of disaster assistance. Flood victims are not obligated to accept an SBA loan.