Californians who suffered losses from the November wildfires
have just a few days left to apply for federal and state disaster assistance. Tuesday, January 20, 2009, is the
last day to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free
number 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or to go online at the new
multi-agency disaster help website, www.disasterassistance.gov,
to register for assistance.
Monday through Friday and closed on the weekend. They will be open on Martin Luther King, Jr.,
day, Monday, January 19. The website can be accessed any time.
Once registered, applicants can track the status of their
case by calling the same toll-free telephone number, or at the website.
"Maybe some have not registered because they have fire
insurance and assume that they are not eligible for FEMA assistance," said Mark
Neveau, federal coordinating officer for the disaster. "It costs nothing to
register and it is the only way to find out if assistance is available."
Neveau said there is no need to wait for an insurance
settlement before registering. FEMA will not make a final determination of
eligibility until any insurance claims have been settled. "That may not happen until after the
registration deadline," Neveau said.
The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) deadline for
filing disaster loan applications is Wednesday,
January 21, 2009.
"Registering with FEMA allows applicants to be considered
for assistance from FEMA if they exhaust their insurance and still have
eligible unmet needs," said Tom Maruyama, deputy state coordinating officer. "It
also enables them to be considered for a State Supplemental Grant from the
Department of Social Services if they have eligible unmet needs after insurance
and receiving the maximum FEMA grant."