Apply For Assistance Even If You Have Insurance

May 2nd, 2009 - 12:40 am ICT by admin  

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Disaster assistance often provides benefits not offered by insurance. That is why Arkansas residents affected by the severe storms and tornadoes of April 9 are urged by the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) 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 Mike Moore of FEMA. “By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers. But we may be able to help with some disaster-related expenses that are within our program limits.”

Residents in Miller, Polk and Sevier counties are eligible to apply for individual disaster assistance.

Disaster assistance that may be available includes grants to help pay for:

* Temporary housing and rental assistance;
* Medical, dental and funeral expenses;
* Personal property;
* Transportation; and
* Essential items.

In addition, low-interest disaster loans are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for qualified homeowners and renters as well as for business owners.

“Call to register with FEMA now,” said State Coordinating Officer Richard Griffin of ADEM. “Then call again after receiving any insurance settlements to update your information.”

Applicants can register or update information by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to midnight, daily. Disaster victims also can register online at www.fema.gov or www.disasterassistance.gov.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

* FEMA by law cannot duplicate what insurance already covers, and it cannot pay deductibles;
* Applicants will be asked to submit proof of any insurance settlement; and
* Applicants should save receipts for expenses that may be eligible and be ready to show them to the inspector when he or she visits to assess damage.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state’s homeland security and emergency management agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to Arkansas by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies.

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terrorism.

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 homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

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