• 68°

FEMA deadline moved to Jan. 11

LIVINGSTON-Representatives from FEMA attended Monday’s meeting of the Sumter County Commission to remind residents in disaster stricken areas it is not too late to file claims.

Public Information Officer Tom Cain said several people who may still qualify have been turned down for FEMA funding because of technical problems.

“A lot of people aren’t familiar with the process and they are being turned down or denied,” Cain said. “It is because in large part because of paperwork problems. If they visit the DRC (Disaster Recovery Center), they have people they can meet face to face and sit down and talk with and they will help them to work through an appeal for the process.”

Cain said the deadline has been extended, but initial contact has to be made by those in need of assistance.

“They have also extended the deadline to Jan. 11, but they need to call and register,” Cain said. “They have until January and if they have gotten a denial letter they can come to the DRC and get help with the appeal process.”

FEMA officials stressed the importance of staying in touch with the disaster recovery group after registration. Senior Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Bolch said people tend to move around in situations such as this. He said they should always give their updated information to FEMA officials.

“We understand that people move around a lot as they adapt to new situations,” Cain said. “But we always need to know current addresses and contact phone numbers so we can make sure assistance goes to the right place.”

Bolch explained that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided a number of ways to make it easier for applicants to update addresses, phone numbers and personal information. Staff at any Disaster Recovery Center can make updates for any previously registered applicants. The FEMA Web site at www.fema.gov provides an update option as does the toll free helpline option at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

The Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available in a variety of languages to assist registered applicants. A similar Helpline is available for individuals who use special keyboard equipment at 1-800-462-7585.

Bolch asked those who have already registered and been assigned a number not to register again.

“Once an applicant is assigned a registration number, it is important not to register again,” Bolch said. “Registering more than once for a specific disaster will delay assistance processing.”