FEMA registration deadline nears
ADDISON COUNTY — As those affected by Tropical Storm Irene continue to rebuild, the deadline to apply for disaster recovery assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration (SBA)is drawing near. FEMA is asking that individuals, town and state government agencies register their claims by next Tuesday, Nov. 15.
To register call, toll-free, 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov.
The agency has closed its disaster recovery centers throughout the state, but the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), which works closely with FEMA to provide low-interest loans, is still operating three recovery centers across the state where both businesses and homeowners can get registration help. The centers are in Springfield, Brattleboro and White River Junction.
As of Nov. 4, FEMA had received 6,824 individual registrations throughout the state, including 186 in Addison County.
And in late October, the agency had released grants totaling more than $36 million to Vermonters, including 3,169 housing assistance grants and 1,340 renter assistance grants.
FEMA officials say even those unsure if they qualify should register; beyond FEMA grants, those affected by the Aug. 28 storm and resulting flooding may also be eligible for SBA grants (even homeowners), and those are granted through the same registration process.
Vermonters may be eligible for FEMA assistance for losses not covered by insurance, such as:
• Payment for temporary housing during repairs.
• Repairs of a disaster-damaged well or septic system.
• Repair or replacement of a disaster-damaged vehicle.
• Personal property and household contents lost.
• Disaster medical or dental expenses.
• Moving and storage expenses.
FEMA cannot help anyone who discovers a disaster-related problem — for example, mold — if they fail to register before the Nov. 15 deadline.
If an insurance claim is denied or delayed, the SBA may be able to offer a loan that will provide money for recovery. Even if you’re pretty sure insurance will cover your losses, you should still file, experts advise. If the claim is paid, the insurance settlement can be used to pay off the SBA loan.
SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.
MORE INFO & FREE HELP
Those who need legal assistance dealing with issues related to Tropical Storm Irene and who do not have the means to hire a lawyer may call Disaster Legal Services at 1-800-889-2047 for free legal advice. Those who qualify for assistance will be matched with Vermont lawyers volunteering their time.
Legal assistance my include help with insurance or FEMA benefits claims, home repair contracts and contractors, building permits, replacement of wills and other legal documents destroyed in the disaster, counseling on mortgage-foreclosure or landlord/tenant problems and other issues potentially arising from the disaster.
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Vermont relief in numbers
• $39 million-plus in disaster assistance approved for Vermont.
• 6,796 FEMA registrations have been received.
• $19 million in grants approved for individuals and families.
• $17.8 million for home repairs or replacement and rental assistance.
• $1.3 million for other needs.
• $30,200 is the maximum possible grant; 140 individuals received this amount.
• $5,572 is the average housing assistance grant.
• 1,350 individuals/households have received temporary rental assistance.
• $20 million has been approved by SBA in low interest disaster loans.
• $12.4 million in home loans.
• $200,000 SBA home loan maximum for the repair or replacement of real estate.
• $40,000 SBA maximum for repair or to replace personal property.
• $47,000 is the average SBA home loan.
• $7.6 million is the amount the SBA gave in loans to businesses.
• $115,000 is the average SBA business loan.
• 4,161 is the number of homeowners that the SBA has sent disaster loan applications to.
• 754 (18 percent) of those applications were returned.
• 4,665 property inspections to document damage have been completed.
• 4,122 visits have been recorded to Disaster Recovery Centers in Vermont in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.