The first step in applying for disaster assistance is to register with FEMA at
800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585.
These toll-free telephone numbers will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice. Help is available in all languages. Homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations can register online anytime.
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs), where disaster survivors can meet with representatives from federal, state, local and volunteer agencies, are already operating in Cherokee, Cobb and Douglas counties.
Current DRC locations:
Cherokee County: Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Department, 200 Building, 7545 Main Street, Woodstock, operating daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cobb County: The Threadmill, Suite 120, 5000 Austell/Powder Springs Road, Austell, operating daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Douglas County: Lithia Springs First United Methodist Church, 3711 Temple Street, Lithia Springs operating daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., except 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays
As cleanup continues, the state of Georgia and Federal Emergency Management Agency are helping people in 14 counties across north Georgia recover from the severe storms and flooding that started September 18.
President Obama issued a major disaster declaration Thursday for five counties: Carroll, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas, and Paulding. On Friday, the declaration was expanded to include Catoosa, Chattooga, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker counties. Residents in these counties are eligible to apply for disaster recovery assistance.
Disaster assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also will be available to cover residential and business losses not covered by insurance.
There are two easy ways to begin the application process. Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice. Help in all languages is available.
Callers are advised to have the following information available to help speed up the application process:
Your current phone number;
Your Social Security number, if available;
A general list of damages and losses you suffered;
If insured, your insurance policy number, or the agent's and company name;
General financial information; and
Bank account code if you wish to speed up your assistance with direct deposit.
Inspectors in the field to verify damages
Inspectors contracted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are contacting Georgia disaster applicants who sustained damage from storms and flooding beginning September 18. Legitimate FEMA inspectors won't ask for personal information, such as a Social Security number, or request payment at the time of the inspection.
Inspectors are private contractors who wear official FEMA identification. When inspectors call to set up an appointment, they will confirm registration details, including Social Security numbers. Inspectors will not ask for these details and will not approach an applicant without prior contact.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and various insurance companies also have inspectors in the field.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU CALL:
Inspector's Call: After an applicant registers with a housing or personal property need, either online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) - a 9-digit application number is assigned. An inspector will then call to schedule an appointment to visit the damaged property - generally within 7-10 days of registration.
Inspector's Visit: Keep the scheduled appointment to make sure the assistance process continues quickly.
When inspectors visit, they are assessing disaster-related damage for both real and personal property. Inspectors file damage reports, but they do not determine eligibility.
The applicant - or someone who is 18 or older and lived in the household prior to the disaster - must be present for the scheduled appointment. Regarding real property, the inspector will ask for identification and proof of ownership and occupancy (for homeowners) and occupancy only (for renters). Flood survivors can speed up the process by having the appropriate documents on hand:
A photo ID to prove identity, such as driver's license or passport
Proof of occupancy, which may include
A utility bill from with the address of the damaged home and the applicant's name listed or a merchant's statement, credit card bills, delivery notices or other first class mail addressed to the applicant and showing the address of the damaged home;
Employer's pay stubs and similar documents addressed to the applicant and showing the address of the damaged home;
Current driver's license or Georgia State ID showing the address of the damaged home.
Proof of ownership, such as:
Deed showing applicant as the legal owner; or
Title that lists applicant on actual escrow or title document for the purchase of the home;
Mortgage payment book that names the applicant along with the address of the damaged home;
Real property insurance policy for the damaged home with applicant's name listed as the insured;
Tax receipts or a property tax bill that lists the address of the damaged home and the applicant as the responsible party to the assessments.
After the Inspector's Visit:
The applicant receives a letter from FEMA containing a decision within 14 days of the inspector's visit.
If the applicant is eligible for assistance, a letter is sent to the mailing address and a check or an electronic funds transfer may be issued. The letter explains what the money can be used for.
If the applicant is not eligible for assistance the letter will give the reason(s) for denial. Applicants will be informed of their right to appeal, and information on the appeal process.
If applicants are referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), they will receive an SBA low-interest loan application in the mail. Applicants do not have to accept this loan option.
However, to be considered for some other forms of federal disaster assistance, applicants must complete and return the SBA paperwork.
The first step in applying for disaster assistance is to register with FEMA at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585. These toll-free telephone numbers will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice. Help is available in all languages. Homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations can register online anytime.
Assistance to individuals may include grants to help pay for uninsured temporary housing needs, essential home repairs, other necessary disaster-related expenses and serious needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.
For more information on Georgia's disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov or www.gema.ga.gov or www.ready.ga.gov/ or http://twitter.com/GeorgiaEMA or www.afcema.com