For homeowners and renters who sustained damages caused by Colorado’s flooding, the next step after contacting their insurance company is to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Following a Sept. 14 presidential disaster declaration, homeowners, renters and business owners in Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties who sustained damage as a result of the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that began on Sept. 11, 2013 may now apply for state and federal disaster assistance.
• People with storm losses can register simply by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), which is video relay service accessible. Applicants who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can use TTY 800-462-7585. Help is available in most languages and phone lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. Online registration is available at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or through a smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov.
• FEMA assistance can cover rental costs, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
• FEMA can refer survivors who do not need FEMA assistance, or who have additional needs, to partner agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
• U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans are available for homeowners, renters and businesses at affordable terms. Survivors offered an SBA low-interest loan are under no obligation to accept it. However, completing and returning the application may open the door to other forms of assistance such as additional FEMA grants.
• Survivors can obtain more information from the SBA website at www.sba.gov/disaster and learn how to apply on line or download an SBA application. Applicants with SBA questions can also call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing) for assistance.
• Homeowners and renters with insurance should fill out a FEMA application and SBA loan application while they are waiting for their insurance decision. It saves time.
• If insurance doesn’t cover all of their disaster-related expenses, FEMA and/or SBA assistance may be available to fill in the gap.
• FEMA grants for housing and other needs assistance are NOT counted as income and DO NOT affect other benefits or eligibility for programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. FEMA grant money does not have to be repaid as long as it is properly spent for your disaster recovery.
• Income level does not affect possible FEMA assistance for homeowners; and let FEMA determine if the amount of damage qualifies for assistance. Survivors should not disqualify themselves by not registering.