It’s been three weeks since Hurricane Irma pummeled Florida and much of Georgia. Recovery efforts are ongoing. Here is the latest information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Individual Assistance is available for survivors in seven Georgia counties: Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Coffee, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh.
Survivors can report uninsured or underinsured damage to their homes, vehicles and other personal property with FEMA. Registering with FEMA is required for federal assistance, even if you registered with another disaster-relief organization or your county emergency manager. FEMA disaster assistance does not affect your Social Security or other federal benefits and is not considered taxable income by the IRS.
As of Saturday more than 21,000 Georgians had asked FEMA for assistance or information on recovery programs, according to Steven Solomon, FEMA media relations specialist. $7.7 million has been approved for survivors. More than 950 survivors have met with recovery staff at four disaster recovery centers, seeking assistance from state, FEMA, SBA and other agencies.
Liberty County’s disaster recovery center at the Liberty County Community Complex on Highway 84 in Midway is scheduled to close this Saturday at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday it will be open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. On Saturday it opens at 8 a.m.
You can also register for assistance online at: www.DisasterAssistance.gov or through the FEMA mobile app, or the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. Survivors who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have difficulty speaking may call TTY 800-462-7585. Lines are open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week.
Homeowners, renters and businesses can find an electronic loan application on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Call questions to the SBA disaster customer service center at 800-659-2995 or TTY 800-877-8339 or www.sba.gov/disaster.
Applicants will receive registration numbers, which are used throughout the claim process.
Solomon said the deadline to apply for disaster assistance in Georgia is Nov. 14.
Additional assistance is available for the following:
• Cleanup and removal assistance — a one-time $500 payment per household for primary residences that were damaged by Hurricane Irma, but not rendered uninhabitable. The amount is the estimated average cost of cleaning, sanitizing and removing carpet. This assistance is intended to ensure contamination from floodwaters is addressed to prevent additional losses and potential health and safety concerns. Individuals and households may be eligible for this assistance if all of the following conditions are met:
o The pre-disaster, primary residence is in a county designated for individual assistance,
o The applicant has at least one real property line item recorded with the cause of damage as “flood,”
o The residence was not covered by flood or mobile home insurance at the time of the disaster,
o The applicant received a denial for home repair assistance from FEMA stating “Ineligible — home is safe to occupy.”
Individual property owners are responsible for performing or contracting services to remove contaminants from and disinfect areas of their homes affected by floodwater.
• Critical needs assistance — a $500 payment per household to help survivors with critical needs due to being displaced from their home by Irma. Critical needs are life-saving or life-sustaining items including water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, medical supplies and equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation. Individuals or households may be eligible for this assistance if the following conditions have been met:
o They have registered with FEMA;
o The applicant passes identity verification;
o The applicant asserts they have critical needs and requests financial assistance for those needs and expenses;
o Their pre-disaster home is in a county that is designated for CNA;
o The applicant is displaced as a result of the disaster.
• Disaster legal aid — approved for Irma survivors in the designated counties who cannot pay for an attorney. Assistance can be requested by calling 866-584-8027 or 404-527-8793 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Individuals who qualify will be matched with lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance. Survivors may also request assistance online by emailing contact information to email@example.com.
For more information on hurricane recovery, go to www.fema.gov/disaster/4338 or visit the Georgia Emergency Management Agency site at gema.ga.gov.
Have this information ready when you apply:
• Social Security number
• Address of the damaged home or apartment
• Description of the damage
• Information about insurance coverage
• A current contact telephone number
• An address where you can receive mail
• Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds