Those homeowners and affected renters who have filed paperwork could be receiving letters from FEMA requiring additional information.
According to Susan Solomon, FEMA information officer for the Hamilton and Bradley county area, 55 FEMA registrations have been noted in Bradley County and seven FEMA registrations for aid in Polk.
Solomon also said 253 registrations had been received in Hamilton County.
“To date, almost $514,000 in disaster assistance was approved by FEMA for those in the 10 disaster-declared counties in Tennessee,” Solomon said Thursday evening.
“Applicants should not be discouraged if they receive a letter indicating they are ineligible. FEMA may simply need additional information or documentation.”
Under federal law, FEMA cannot duplicate assistance that comes from insurance benefits or other government sources but FEMA’s initial determination of ineligibility may change if private insurance or other government assistance is not sufficient to cover all eligible damage. For example, many applicants may still be awaiting a settlement from their insurance company. FEMA letters provide an explanation of what steps need to be taken to change the status of a disaster assistance request. Applicants are encouraged to call the FEMA helpline or to take the letter to a disaster recovery center for help with the appeals process. Applicants have 60 days from the date of the letter to file an appeal.
“FEMA looks at a number of things to determine if a survivor can receive disaster assistance,” according to information from the government agency.
The agency must be able to:
- Verify an applicant’s identity. If they have lost an ID during the storm, disaster recovery staff can make referrals regarding replacement documents.
- Verify damages. If they believe the inspector didn’t see all of their damages, they can call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362 or visit a disaster recovery center.
- Verify home occupancy. Applicants need to provide proof of occupancy, such as a utility bill. They can bring the bill to a disaster recovery center, where recovery specialists will help them.
Applicants may also receive a determination letter from FEMA about their eligibility if they missed an appointment with an inspector or failed to return paperwork to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
If people with storm losses receive a low-interest disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration, they must complete and return it as soon as possible in order to be referred to other FEMA programs. They do not have to accept a loan if one is offered but completing the loan application process may open the door to other kinds of assistance. The deadline is May 15.
Residents who sustained damage in the storms and have not registered with FEMA are urged to do so even if they have insurance.
The Bradley County Disaster Recovery Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.
It is located at 340 Church St. in the former First Baptist Church Annex.
If possible, before visiting a disaster recovery center, people with storm losses should register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), which is video relay service accessible. Applicants using TTY can call 800-462-7585. Help is available in most languages and lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Residents can also register by computer online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, according to FEMA information.
To date, more than 650 applications have been approved statewide.