Eleven more counties, including Blount, were designated disaster areas over the weekend following last Wednesday’s tornado outbreak, bringing the total to 36 counties across north and central Alabama.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now authorized to provide extraordinary assistance to individuals who have suffered property damage from the storm. According to a FEMA news release, such assistance for affected individuals and families can include the following, if requirements are met:
rental payments for temporary housing for both renters and homeowners whose homes are unlivable.
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 disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other programs.
unemployment payments for up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, e.g. the self-employed.
low-interest loans to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural co-ops, and most private nonprofit organizations that have suffered disaster-related cash-flow problems and need working capital to recover. How to apply for assistance:You must register with FEMA and set up a time for a FEMA representative to inspect your property and the damage you report. To do that, call 1 800 621-FEMA (3362) or register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. You may also register by web-enabled mobile device via Smartphone at m.fema.gov. The hearing/speech impaired may call 1 800 462-7585 ( TTY).
Be prepared to provide basic information such as address where damage occurred, nature and extent of damage, your Social Security number, contact information where you may be reached by a FEMA representative in the event they are unable to schedule an appointment at the time you call.A FEMA representative will visit the site within about a week to conduct an appraisal of your claim. Be prepared with photos to help document damages and receipts for storm-related costs that you have incurred, such as lodging bills, for example.