July 7, 2009
APPLY FOR ASSISTANCE EVEN IF YOU HAVE INSURANCE
OKLAHOMA CITY — Disaster assistance often provides benefits not offered by insurance. That is why Oklahoma residents affected by the April wildfires are urged by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for assistance even if they have insurance.
“We want everyone who is eligible for assistance to receive help as soon as possible,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kenneth R. Tingman of FEMA. “By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers, but we may be able to help with some disaster-related expenses.” Tingman was appointed by the president to lead the U.S. government side of joint federal/state disaster operations.
Residents of the following Oklahoma counties are eligible for individual disaster assistance: Carter, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, McClain, Murray, Oklahoma, Payne and Stephens.
Disaster assistance can include grants to help pay for disaster-related:
- Temporary housing, emergency home repairs and rental assistance;
- Medical and dental expenses;
- Essential personal property; and
“Call to register with FEMA now,” said OEM State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. “Then call again after receiving your insurance settlement to update your information.”
Applicants can call the FEMA toll-free registration number 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585. Telephone lines are open daily 7 a.m. to midnight. Residents also can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov 24 hours a day.
In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, and businesses for losses not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property. Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury.
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SBA offers low-interest working capital loans (called Economic Injury Disaster Loans) to small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes having difficulty meeting obligations as a result of the disaster.