Updated information for Individual Assistance due to the Feb 22-24 Severe Storms, Tornadoes and Flooding.

FEMA Extends Incident Period for February Storms and Flooding

Federal disaster assistance could soon start flowing to aid more Mississippi residents impacted by last February’s storms and flooding.

The official incident event was for the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding which occurred in February.  Due to the continuing effects of the flood following those storms, the “incident period” was amended to Feb. 22 to Aug. 23, 2019. The major disaster declaration, signed by President Trump on April 23, initially designated Feb. 22 to March 29 as the “incident period,” for disaster DR-4429-MS.

Citing unprecedented and ongoing flooding, the state asked FEMA to extend the incident period closure date to Aug. 23. Of the Mississippi counties declared eligible for federal assistance, eight – Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo – are eligible for FEMA “Individual Assistance” (IA) programs for individuals and households.

Although the incident period was extended, eligible damages must be the result of the February storms and floods for which the original disaster was declared.  If your damages are not related to the storms that began in late February, you are not eligible for assistance under this disaster.

  • If your damages are not related to the storms that began in late February, you are not eligible for assistance under this disaster.
  •  You must apply with FEMA in order to become eligible for assistance. You can register with FEMA by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). The toll-free lines are open daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Multi-lingual operators are available.
  • Applicants who previously registered for FEMA assistance, but were determined to have suffered damages outside the original incident period, will now automatically be reviewed for eligibility and do not have to appeal or re-apply. 
  • Even though the incident period has been extended, it DOES NOT include an extension on Public Assistance funding (funding for infrastructure, community-based improvements.)

By approving the state’s request, FEMA potentially increased the number of storm- and flood-damaged households eligible for IA. Additional home inspections may be required by FEMA inspectors to verify storm related damages.

“This expansion of the original timeframe will allow for more Mississippi communities to receive the help they need to recover from the storms,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Joe Girot. “We are confident that our strong partnership with the state will allow for a smooth, coordinated effort on behalf of these impacted communities.”

Eligible survivors impacted by the February storms, either on or before Aug. 23, can still register for disaster assistance with FEMA.

The last day to register for FEMA disaster assistance in Nov. 19, 2019.

 There’s still time to register in person at the two Joint Disaster Recovery Center locations, listed below. Both locations are set to close on October 31st. Both DRCs will operate 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.

 

Lowndes County

East Columbus Gym

222 Lawrence Drive

Columbus, MS 39702

 

Warren County

Vicksburg Mall

3505 Pemberton Square Blvd., Suite 25

Vicksburg, MS 39180

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Tuesday, Nov. 19 is Last Day to Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance

Mississippi survivors of this year’s severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding have until Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 to apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA disaster assistance may be available to homeowners and renters with storm- and flood-damaged property in Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo counties.

“We want people to understand that this deadline is for new disaster applications,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Joe Girot. “For those who already have applied, their cases will continue to be processed. New applications will not be accepted after Nov. 19.”

Disaster Recovery Centers in Vicksburg and Columbus will remain open through Oct. 31, where you can meet face-to-face with representatives of FEMA, the State of Mississippi, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and other agencies. At the DRCs you can check the status of your claim, learn about filing an appeal and get information about other available state, federal and community programs.

If you have not yet registered with FEMA, you may do so until Nov. 19 by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov   or calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). These toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Multilingual operators are available.

After the application deadline, FEMA will still be available to assist those who have already registered. Applicants who have questions about disaster assistance programs or the status of their previously-filed applications should continue to use FEMA’s toll-free numbers.

The application deadline for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA for physical damages is also Nov. 19. SBA disaster loans can help fund repair or replacement costs not covered by insurance or other sources. Applicants may apply online at SBA.gov/disaster or, for more information, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.

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Explanation of Incident Period Extension for February Storms and Flooding

JACKSON, Miss. — President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for the State of Mississippi on April 23, 2019 (designated as FEMA-4429-DR-MS) as a result of storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding occurring in February 2019.  The disaster’s “Incident Period” was initially designated as beginning on February 22, 2019 and closing on March 29, 2019.

On September 27, 2019, the State of Mississippi requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) amend the Incident Period closure date from March 29, 2019, to August 23, 2019. The extension was to include impacts related to the unprecedented and ongoing flooding that was affecting individuals and households in the Yazoo Backwater Counties of Humphreys, Issaquena, Sharkey, Warren, and Yazoo.

On October 16, 2019, FEMA approved the State’s request to extend the incident period through August 23, 2019.  The request allows individuals and households in the counties of Humphreys, Issaquena, Sharkey, Warren, and Yazoo to file Individual Assistance damage claims. Applicants who were excluded because their dates of damage occurred during the declared flooding event, but after the original incident closure date of March 29, 2019, will automatically be reviewed and do not have to appeal.

Damage and impacts from other storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding unrelated to the declared incident, even if they occurred during the newly expanded Incident Period, remain ineligible for assistance.

APPEAL PROCESS FOR FEBRUARY STORMS AND FLOODING DAMAGE

FEMA is doing its best to see that every Mississippi storm and flood survivor receives every dollar of assistance for which they are eligible. If you do not agree with FEMA, you can file an appeal.

An appeal is a written request to have your FEMA eligibility determination reviewed.  Your appeal may concern the amount and type of assistance provided to you, your eligibility for disaster assistance, or your need for continuing support.

If you are dissatisfied with FEMA’s determination, you must file your appeal within 60 days of the date of your determination letter. Your appeal must be in writing, signed and dated, and submitted by U.S. mail, fax or online:

  • By mail, send your appeal to FEMA Appeals Officer, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055.
  • By computer, upload the appeal to your online disaster account at DisasterAssistance.gov
  • By fax, 800-827-8112 (Attn: FEMA).

 

For suggestions on how to write an appeal letter, visit https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/images/180184

Your appeal should include:

  • Why you think the amount or the type of assistance you received is incorrect.
  • A list of disaster-caused damage and unmet needs you believe were not covered.
  • Verifiable estimates from contractors, stating damage and cause, cost of repairs and what items are not repairable.
  • Verifiable invoices, receipts or letters documenting payments made to landlords, doctors, merchants, schools, employers, etc.
  • This is the disaster number: DR-4429-MS. You will need your FEMA Registration ID/number too.
  • If you authorize someone else to write and sign the appeal letter for you, you must submit a signed statement authorizing that person to represent you.

 

If you need help with your letter or have questions about the appeal process, call FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). The toll-free lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Multilingual operators are available.

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FEMA/MEMA Disaster Recovery Centers Set Closing Date, Change Hours

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi’s two Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) will close permanently at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31, but survivors will still be able to get the help they need online or on the phone.

In addition, beginning Monday, Oct. 21, both DRCs will change weekday hours. The new hours, Monday through Friday, will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday hours will remain 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

After Oct. 31, you will still have easy access to many of the services available at the DRCs, operated jointly by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The FEMA Helpline is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available.  For online help, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

You can use the Helpline phone number or visit the website to:

  • Register with FEMA. (Deadline to register is Nov. 19, 2019.)
  • Provide a change of address, telephone and bank account numbers and insurance information to avoid disaster assistance processing delays.
  • Receive information about FEMA home inspections.
  • Get other questions answered about federal disaster assistance.
  • Learn how to appeal a FEMA decision. (All applicants may appeal.)
  • Ask questions about your FEMA determination letter.

If you want to discuss your FEMA application, you may be asked for your nine-digit FEMA registration number, social security number and zip code.

MEMA/FEMA disaster recovery centers are located at:

 

Lowndes County

East Columbus Gym

222 Lawrence Drive

Columbus, MS 39702

 

Warren County

Vicksburg Mall

3505 Pemberton Square Blvd., Suite 25

Vicksburg, MS 39180

Beginning Monday, Oct. 21, both DRCs will operate 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays;
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Both facilities will close permanently at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.

 

 

SBA Low-Interest Disaster Loans Key to Mississippi Storm Recovery

JACKSON, Miss. – Oct. 15, 2019

For many Mississippi survivors with property damage from this year’s storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding, a completed U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application is as essential to recovery as a mop.

While federal grants are one form of recovery help, another key resource is the low-interest disaster assistance loan from SBA for repairs and replacement of storm- or flood-damaged real estate and personal property. Almost $1.4 million in loans have been approved for Mississippi homeowners, renters and businesses to date.

Survivors referred to the SBA should complete and return the low-interest disaster loan application as soon as possible. No one is obligated to accept a loan. If SBA is not able to approve a loan for a homeowner or renter, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA.

FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program may be able to help with repair or replacement of personal property and vehicles, as well as moving and storage and other disaster-related expenses. To date, the ONA program has approved more than $140,747 in grants for disaster needs other than housing.

Homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses of all sizes, nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters can apply for SBA loans to pay for recovery costs not covered by insurance or other sources. People with home-based businesses or rental property who have been affected by the storms may also be eligible for SBA loans.

Business owners can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA also offers small businesses Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) that may provide working capital for ongoing business expenses to address the adverse economic impact of a disaster. EIDLs may be available even if the business suffered no physical damage.

Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for repair or replacement of their primary residence. Homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

Loan amounts and terms are determined on a case-by-case basis. Interest rates may be as low as 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters; as low as 4 percent for businesses, and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations. These low rates, coupled with payment terms as long as 30 years, make the disaster loans affordable.

Before applying for an SBA loan, register with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Online registration is also available at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

For more information about SBA low-interest disaster loans, call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339) or visit sba.gov/disaster. Homeowners, renters and businesses may apply for disaster loans online, at DisasterLoan.SBA.gov.

SBA representatives at state/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) answer questions, help applicants apply for SBA loans and accept applications for consideration. DRCs are open at these locations:

Lowndes County

East Columbus Gym

222 Lawrence Drive

Columbus, MS 39702

Warren County

Vicksburg Mall

3505 Pemberton Square Blvd., Suite 25

Vicksburg, MS 39180

Hours at both facilities are: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday;

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Business owners who want to meet one-on-one with an SBA Customer Service Representative may visit this Business Recovery Center (BRC):

Warren County

Alcorn State University’s Vicksburg Location

Vicksburg Mall

3505 Pemberton Square Boulevard, Suite 5 (link is external)

Vicksburg, MS  39180

The BRC hours are: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

After Applying for FEMA Assistance, It’s Important to Keep in Touch

JACKSON, Miss. – Oct. 11, 2019

It’s important to keep in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after you have registered for disaster assistance.

Many survivors of the storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding that hit parts of Mississippi this year may be transitioning from their damaged homes to temporary rentals or other temporary housing. If you change your address, telephone number or bank account information, update that information with FEMA immediately.

Without accurate contact information on file with FEMA, you could miss important correspondence or telephone calls. Inaccurate banking information could lead to your direct-deposit grants being delayed. If you need to make any updates to your information, call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or make updates within your online account. If your flood-damaged home is inaccessible because of road closures, evacuation orders, or debris, advise FEMA once your house becomes available for inspection by a FEMA housing inspector.

If you suffered damage or loss from the storms and have not yet applied for FEMA disaster assistance, you should register right away.

You can apply by visiting www.DisasterAssistance.gov  or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585), 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Multilingual operators are available. The deadline to register is Nov. 19, 2019.

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Renters? Homeowners? Who can get temporary Housing Assistance?

JACKSON, Miss. – Oct. 10, 2019

If you have been displaced from your primary residence because of the storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes that hit Mississippi earlier this year, are uninsured or underinsured and have applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) you may be eligible to receive Temporary Housing Assistance.

Both homeowners and renters whose storm-damaged housing is in Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren or Yazoo counties, may qualify.

Federal Temporary Housing Assistance typically offers two months of rent, based on the fair market rental in the county where your damaged home is located. This assistance is usually for damaged homes that are uninhabitable. When there is a demonstrated need for long-term assistance, rent payments may be provided for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration.

FEMA-registered homeowners also may qualify for assistance to make their damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional. It is not intended to return the home to its pre-disaster condition. Eligible repairs may include storm or flood damage to:

  • Structural parts of your home (foundation, outside walls, roof).
  • Septic or sewage system.
  • Water well or other water system.
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC).
  • Utilities (electrical, plumbing, and gas systems).
  • Entrance and exit ways from your home, including privately owned access roads.
  • Blocking, leveling, and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical, fuel lines, and tanks.

If FEMA determines your primary residence was damaged to the extent that it must be replaced, you may receive home replacement assistance. The amount of assistance you receive is limited by federal law and will not cover the full cost of rebuilding. However, you may apply for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes for repairs or rebuilding and for replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.

You may apply to the SBA by visiting https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Survivors may register for FEMA assistance by visiting DisasterAssistance.com or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Multi-lingual operators are available. The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is Nov. 19, 2019.

New Saturday Hours for State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers; Columbus and Vicksburg DRC’s will be open on Columbus Day

JACKSON, Miss. – Oct. 9, 2019

The State of Mississippi/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Columbus and Vicksburg have announced shorter Saturday hours. Beginning Oct. 12, the DRCs will open at 10 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. on Saturdays only.

In addition, both DRCs will be open for the federal Columbus Day holiday on Monday, Oct. 14, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The disaster recovery centers are located at: 

Lowndes County

East Columbus Gym

222 Lawrence Drive

Columbus, MS 39702

 

Warren County

Vicksburg Mall

3505 Pemberton Square Blvd., Suite 25 Vicksburg, MS 39180 

Both facilities are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Operated jointly by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency the DRCs provide one-on-one assistance to survivors of this year’s storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding.

The holiday may be a good day to visit a DRC to meet with representatives from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other state, federal and volunteer agencies. These personnel are available at DRCs to explain their programs and to offer guidance in navigating the FEMA application process. Applicants should have their FEMA registration number and Social Security number when visiting a DRC.

Survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA before visiting a DRC. To register, visit DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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 businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may visit a temporary disaster recovery center, or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

FEMA Determination Letter May Not Be Last Word on Disaster Assistance

JACKSON, Miss. Oct. 08, 2019 –

Storm and flood survivors who applied for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and received a letter or text message about the status of their application, should know this first communication may not be the last word.

It’s important to read your determination letter carefully, all the way through, to clarify why your application was labeled “ineligible” or “incomplete.” Very often ineligibility can be resolved quickly. In fact, the most common reasons for this determination are:

  • The application may be incomplete. More information or documentation is needed;
  • The applicant did not sign the required documents;
  • The applicant did not prove occupancy or ownership;
  • The damage is to a secondary home or a rental property – not a primary residence;
  • Someone else in the household has already applied for and received assistance;
  • More information may be needed from an insurance company, or
  • The applicant may have adequate insurance coverage. If a survivor has insurance, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments. However, under-insured applicants may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled.

You should always follow-up — don’t just give up. You can usually provide missing information online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Multi-lingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST). Survivors may check the status of their applications or update their contact information at these same numbers.

Applicants ineligible for FEMA grants may still be eligible for other programs, such as Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

Applicants may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), where low-interest disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters.

SBA disaster loans can help fund repair or replacement costs not covered by insurance or other sources. Applicants may apply online at SBA.gov/disaster or, for more information, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.

 

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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 businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may visit a temporary disaster recovery center, or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

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FEMA Individual Assistance is Available in Eight Mississippi Counties

JACKSON, Miss. Oct. 07, 2019 –

Intended to meet basic needs and help survivors get back on their feet, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Individual and Households Program (IHP) may provide financial assistance and direct services to eligible individuals and households.

Mississippi residents in Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo counties who were impacted by the storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding, designated as DR-4429-MS, may be eligible for benefits under the program.

Who should apply for federal disaster assistance?

Mississippi homeowners and renters in impacted counties who sustained damage to their homes, vehicles or personal property as a result of the storms and flooding. 

Who Is Eligible to Receive Individual Assistance?

To be eligible for IHP grants, you must meet all the following requirements:

  • You suffered disaster-related losses in DR-4429-MS and were a resident of one of the eight designated counties at the time of the storms and flooding.
  • You have no insurance, or you are insured but your insurance is not enough to cover your losses.
  • You or someone who lives with you is a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
  • The affected home is your primary home. You can’t access it or it requires repairs because of disaster damage.

What assistance is available?

FEMA Individual Assistance Programs may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs for your primary residence, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses as well as medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other serious disaster-related expenses.

In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters. Businesses are not eligible for Individual Assistance but may apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans.

Will FEMA rebuild my home the way it was?

No. Individual Assistance provides financial assistance and direct services to eligible individuals and households who have uninsured and underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs.  The program is not a substitute for insurance and cannot pay for all losses caused by a disaster.  It is intended to meet basic needs and help you with your recovery. FEMA assistance is not intended to make you whole.

What if I have insurance?

Contact your insurance agent to file a claim. Even if you have insurance, apply to FEMA as soon as you can. FEMA cannot provide money to individuals or households for losses already covered by insurance. However, if you have applied to FEMA for assistance and:

·         Your insurance settlement is delayed, FEMA may be able to assist while you are working it out with your insurance company.
·         Your insurance settlement is insufficient, you may be eligible for FEMA assistance to meet your unmet needs
·         You have exhausted the Additional Living Expenses or Loss of Use provisions of your policy, FEMA may be able to help pay for temporary housing.

How to I apply?

To start an application, visit DisasterAssistance.gov  . If you have questions or prefer to apply by phone, you may call the FEMA at 800-621-3362 (TTY) 800-462-7585. The Helpline is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, seven days a week. Bilingual operators are available.

You can also register at a local Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Use the DRC Locator to find a center near you.

I have applied. What happens next?

Once registered, you may be asked to make an appointment with a FEMA housing inspector to assess the damage to your home.

You can check on the status of your application, add new information to your application (such as change of email, home address, phone number, if you have received an insurance settlement and are reporting it or you’ve discovered additional damages). You can get answers to your questions by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

 

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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 businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may visit a temporary disaster recovery center, or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

 

 

 

You’ll Need Your Insurance Information When You Register with FEMA

JACKSON, Miss. Oct. 04, 2019 –

If you suffered damage or loss from Mississippi’s storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding, Feb. 22 – March 29, and have not yet applied for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you should file a claim with your homeowners insurance company and your flood insurance carrier but register with FEMA right away.

You should apply for assistance even if you have insurance, because you may find you are under-insured or have unmet needs after your insurance settlement. When you apply, you will need your Social Security number, contact information, bank account numbers, and — very important — your homeowners insurance and flood insurance information.

If you are a renter, you may be eligible for FEMA or U.S. Small Business Administration assistance to recover personal property losses not covered by your renters insurance.

If your insurance policy was lost or destroyed in the storms or you just can’t find your information, you should call your insurance company or agent and ask for a copy of your policy, including the Declaration Page. For an extensive list of homeowners insurance companies doing business in Mississippi, as well as phone numbers and addresses, visit https://www.mid.ms.gov/licensing-search/company-search.aspx . You can find contact information for your insurance agent at https://www.mid.ms.gov/licensing-search/individual-entity-search.aspx .

For more information on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims process, visit https://www.fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim .

You can register with FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585), 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily. Multilingual operators are available. You may also register in person at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) operated by FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency in Vicksburg and Columbus. DRCs are accessible facilities you can visit to learn more about FEMA and other disaster assistance programs. Visit https://egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/DRCLocator to find a DRC near you.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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 businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may visit a temporary disaster recovery center, or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

 

Survivors Beware! Scams, Price-Gouging Flourish After Disasters

JACKSON, Miss. Oct. 03, 2019 –

Federal and Mississippi emergency management officials urge residents to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves, and other criminals who may try to prey on survivors of the recent storms and flooding in the state.

Common post-disaster fraud practices include:

  • Fake offers of state or federal aid:
    • Avoid scam artists who promise a disaster grant and ask for cash deposits or advance payments in full.
    • Federal and state workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) personnel never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections, or help in completing applications.
    • Do not give out personal or sensitive information.
    • Report people claiming to be government workers to local police.
  • Phony housing inspectors:
    • Owners/applicants may be especially vulnerable to phony housing inspectors claiming to represent FEMA or SBA.
    • Ask to see the inspector’s identification badge. All federal employees carry official, laminated photo identification.
    • Housing inspectors have each applicant’s nine-digit registration number.

Survivors Beware! Scams, Price-Gouging Flourish After Disasters-Page 2

    • FEMA inspectors verify damage, but do not hire or endorse specific contractors to repair damaged property or recommend repairs. They do not determine your eligibility for assistance.
    • FEMA inspectors never ask for banking or other personal information.
  • Fraudulent building contractors:
    • Building contractors and roofers in Mississippi are required to be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC). It is a felony for building contractors to operate without a license in a declared disaster area.

o   When dealing with a building contractor, hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license.
o   Verify the contractor’s license by checking online at https://www.msboc.us (click “Search Contractors”) or calling MSBOC at 800-880-6161.
o   Don’t rush into decisions and don’t hire the first contractor who comes along.
o   Don’t pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000—whichever is less.
o   Don’t pay cash. Before making the final payment make sure that you are satisfied with the completed work.
o   Verify that any and all liens have been released.
o   Get two or three bids, check references, and get a written contract.
o   Keep all paperwork related to your job.
o   Contact MSBOC if you have a complaint against a contractor.

 

  • Bogus pleas for post-disaster donations: 
    • Unscrupulous solicitors may play on the sympathy for disaster survivors. Disaster aid solicitations may arrive by phone, email, letter or face-to-face visits.
    • Verify legitimate solicitations. Ask for the charity’s exact name, street address, phone number, and web address, then call the charity directly and confirm that the person asking for funds is an employee or volunteer.
    • Don’t pay with cash.
    • Request a receipt with the charity’s name, street address, phone number and web address.

 

  • Price Gouging:
    • Selling goods and services at above normal prices during a state or federally- declared disaster is a crime.
    • Mississippi’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal pricing on housing, gas, food, and other essential supplies.

 

Survivors Beware! Scams, Price-Gouging Flourish After Disasters-Page 3

    • Anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding exorbitant pricing, should call the Mississippi Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 800-281-4418. If possible, use your cellphone to take a
    • picture of the price or anything else to document the price. Email your pictures to aginfo@ago.state.ms.us.

There may be occasions when a FEMA representative must contact survivors to verify personal data.  You should request a FEMA identification number from the caller.  If you are unsure of the caller’s identification, call the FEMA Hotline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). 

If you have knowledge of fraud, waste or abuse, you can call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTCComplaintAssistant.gov. You may also send an email to DHSOIGHotline@dhs.gov.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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 businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may visit a temporary disaster recovery center, or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

 

 

After You Have Registered? FEMA Housing Inspection is Next Step

JACKSON, Miss. Oct. 02, 2019 –

Mississippi storm and flood survivors who have applied for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — on-line or on the phone — often are unsure about what comes next. Is there something more I should be doing? Did I complete all the right forms?

If you received a nine-digit identification number when you registered, you can be sure FEMA is looking out for you.

After you’ve registered, a FEMA housing inspector may contact you and may schedule an appointment to visit your house or apartment to assess the damage. An assessment inspection generally requires 20-40 minutes to complete. It’s important to keep your appointment or notify the inspector if a postponement is necessary.

Upon arrival, the FEMA inspector will display official FEMA photo identification. If the photo ID is not visible, it is important for survivors to ask to see it. This helps prevent fraud.

Homeowners will be asked to show inspectors proof of ownership:

  • Tax bill, deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy, with the applicant’s name, and the damaged property’s address on the documentation.

Renters must show proof of occupancy:

  • Lease or rent payment receipt, utility bill or another document confirming the house or apartment was their primary residence between Feb. 22 and March 29, 2019.

All applicants must show a valid driver’s license, passport or other photo identification.

The FEMA housing inspector will verify storm and flood damage to the structure, building systems and major appliances, and enter the information electronically into a hand-held computer. The computer already contains a file with your registration number and other information. The inspector’s job is to look at your reported damage and document it.

FEMA inspectors do not:

  • Determine your eligibility for assistance or offer repair estimates.
  • Hire or endorse specific contractors to repair homes or recommend repairs.
  • Ask applicants for banking or other personal information.
  • Carry money or solicit or accept payment.

 

Disaster survivors with communication-related disabilities—those who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or have low vision, and those with speech disabilities—may request reasonable accommodations to aid in communication. For instance, survivors may request an American Sign Language interpreter. Accommodations can be requested by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

Important Survivor Tips

·        Applicants need not wait for a FEMA housing inspection before making necessary repairs to damaged property.

·        Document losses thoroughly. Take pictures of all damage to property and major appliances and keep receipts of all disaster-related purchases and expenses.

·        Stay in touch with FEMA after registration. If addresses or phone numbers change, update FEMA as soon as possible. Missing or erroneous information could result in delays in getting a home inspection or receiving assistance.

… And One More Thing

Once you have applied for federal assistance, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It is very important to complete and submit the loan application, even if you think you may not qualify for a loan. You can do this online at https://DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

In fact, homeowners and renters who do not qualify for a loan from SBA may be referred to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program. ONA may include grants to help pay for repair or replacement of household furniture, vehicles and some appliances. Medical, dental and funeral expenses may also be eligible under the program.

###

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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 businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may visit a temporary disaster recovery center, or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

FEMA Teams Canvassing Neighborhoods to Help Mississippi Flood Survivors

JACKSON, Miss. Oct. 02, 2019 –

More than a dozen disaster survivor assistance (DSA) specialists are going door-to-door in the eight Mississippi counties designated for federal individual assistance in the wake of severe flooding brought-on by storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes that hit the region Feb. 22-24.

Working in teams, the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) personnel are canvassing neighborhoods in Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo counties. Using the latest mobile technology, the DSA specialists can register survivors for federal disaster assistance, update their records and make referrals to FEMA’s community service partners. They can quickly identify and address immediate and emerging needs.

DSA personnel also attend community events and seek out survivors at public gathering places like libraries and community centers.

The information and assistance they provide are tailored to the individual survivor’s needs. This assistance may include help to make temporary repairs to a disaster-damaged house, pay for another short-term place to live while permanent repairs are made and/or help with serious, disaster-related needs not covered by other programs.  

Disaster survivor assistance teams may offer residents the opportunity to use a tablet computer to register, or ask to enter information on their behalf.  They will never require survivors to provide personal information. DSA team members can easily be identified by their federal photo identifications and FEMA clothing. Mississippi residents are reminded to ask for official photo identification before sharing personal information.

FEMA employees do not solicit or accept money from disaster survivors. FEMA staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help with registration.

Survivors need not contact a DSA team member to register with FEMA. Residents who sustained damage or losses caused by the Mississippi storms and flooding can register with FEMA in the following ways:

• Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
• By calling FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Operators are available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
• Use a smartphone to register through http://m.FEMA.gov; click “Apply Online for FEMA Assistance,” and you will be directed to DisasterAssistance.gov.

By registering with FEMA, survivors may qualify for federal grants to pay for essential home repair or replacement; to rent a temporary home, and to pay other disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental, transportation and funeral expenses, moving and storage fees, personal property loss and child care, not covered by insurance.

Registering with FEMA is also the first step in qualifying for help from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Low-interest disaster loans from SBA are available to businesses of all sizes (including landlords), homeowners, renters, and private nonprofit organizations to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance. Low-interest disaster loans help fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.

 

 

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers to Open Friday in Warren and Lowndes Counties

JACKSON, Miss. Sept. 26, 2019, at 1 PM – FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers will open Friday, September 27, in Warren and Lowndes counties to provide one-on-one assistance to Mississippians affected by the storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding which occurred from February 22 to March 29, 2019.

Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration and other state, federal and volunteer agencies will provide information on available services, explain assistance programs and help survivors complete or check the status of their applications.

The Disaster Recovery Center location for Warren County is:
Vicksburg Mall
3505 Pemberton Square Blvd,
Suite 25
Vicksburg, MS 39180

The Disaster Recovery Center location for Lowndes County is:
East Columbus Gym
222 Lawrence Drive
Columbus, MS 39702

The hours for both facilities are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The centers will be closed on Sundays.

Before visiting a recovery center, residents are asked to register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-FEMA (3362).

 

Small Business Administration Opening a Business Recovery Center in response to Individual Assistance Declaration

Sept. 24, 2019 – The Federal Declaration covers Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo counties in Mississippi, thus making them eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Attala, Chickasaw, Claiborne, Hinds, Holmes, Itawamba, Lee, Leflore, Madison, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Sunflower, Washington and Webster in Mississippi; and Lamar, Marion and Pickens in Alabama; Chicot in Arkansas and the parishes of East Carroll, Madison and Tensas in Louisiana.   

The Small Business Administration is opening a Business Recovery Center (BRC) in Warren County to help businesses apply for Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.  SBA representatives at the Center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application. The Center is located as indicated below and will operate until further notice:

Warren County:

Alcorn State University’s Vicksburg Location

Vicksburg Mall

3505 Pemberton Square Boulevard, Suite 5

Vicksburg, MS  39180

Opens:  Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, at noon

Hours:   Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Closed:  Saturdays and Sundays

Individual Assistance Granted for Eight Counties in Mississippi due to February Storm Systems.

Sept. 20, 2019 – This Mississippi Individual Assistance Declaration covers the following eight counties: Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo. If you live in those counties and experienced damages due to the February 19-24, 2019 tornadoes, severe storms and flooding, you may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.

Registering with FEMA is the first step in the recovery process and is required for federal aid.  Register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.

  • Federal disaster assistance may include:
    Grants to rent a temporary place to live.
    – Grants for essential home repairs not covered by insurance.
    – Grants for serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance — such as medical, dental, transportation and funeral expenses, moving and storage fees, personal property loss, and childcare.
    – Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance.
  • Disaster recovery centers are run jointly by MEMA and FEMA with representatives from MEMA, FEMA, and SBA to explain available assistance programs and help connect survivors with appropriate resources to assist in their recovery. 
  • Centers are will be open in Lowndes (Columbus) and Warren (Vicksburg) counties.