FEMA to provide resources to help cover damages caused by severe storms and tornadoes

Published 9:00 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

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On Jan. 16, President Joe Biden approved a Major Disaster Declaration for areas in Georgia — including Troup County — impacted by tornadoes last week.

Maria Padron, media specialist for FEMA, said the declaration will provide resources to help cover damages caused by severe storms and tornadoes that took place on Jan. 12.

Counties included in the declaration are Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton, Spalding and Troup County.

Individual assistance may include grants for temporary housing, home repairs and loans to cover uninsured property losses, Padron said.

“The people that lost their homes are going to be able to apply for a loan for up to $200,000 plus funding for mitigation to make the home safer,” Padron said.

“Sometimes there is flooding, and you don’t see all the damage that you have in the basement or foundation of your home. Five or seven months from now, you’ll see all those damages and by then it will be late to apply because people only have 60 days to apply from the date of the declaration.”

Padron encourages those impacted by the tornadoes to apply for assistance by March 15.

“The sooner people apply the sooner they are going to be on the road to recovery. The fastest way to get started is to apply through disasterassistance.gov,” Padron said. “Applicants can also apply through our app or call 1-800-621-3362.”

Padron said before applicants can apply they should have a few documents on hand.

She said applicants must have an active phone number, their address at the time of the disaster, the address of where they are staying now, their social security number, a list of their damages and losses, banking information, and if they had insurance, the policy number or the company name.

“This will be the only time we will ask them for their personal information,” Padron said. “Once they apply, we will give them a registration number.”

Padron said after applying for assistance, applicants will receive a letter from FEMA either by mail, email or text explaining the next steps.

“If you reported that you received damage and are not able to live in your home, an inspector will contact you by phone to schedule an inspection,” Padron said. “FEMA home inspections are conducted in-person but if people are apprehensive due to COVID-19 concerns, they can request we do the inspection without entering their home.”

For those who have insurance, Padron encourages people to file a claim with their insurance company when applying for FEMA assistance.

“FEMA cannot aid with losses already covered by insurance but if your insurance does not cover all your losses or is delayed, you may be eligible for FEMA assistance regarding your unmet needs,” Padron said.

For more information, visit https://www.fema.gov/.