Eight counties can apply for FEMA assistance from March tornadoes

Published 5:55 pm Thursday, April 29, 2021

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Homeowners and renters who suffered damage from the March 25-26, 2021 severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes in Shelby, Bibb, Calhoun, Clay, Hale, Jefferson, Perry and Randolph counties should apply to FEMA for federal disaster assistance as soon as possible. Survivors may be eligible to receive assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from the tornado.

Shelby, Bibb, Calhoun, Clay, Hale, Jefferson, Perry and Randolph counties were designated eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program under the major disaster declaration signed by President Joe Biden on April 26, 2021, for damage and losses from the March tornadoes.

“This is good news for our residents who have been impacted by the storm,” said Columbiana Mayor David Mitchell in a letter to residents. “Insurance will not cover everything.  This declaration may help those who are insured as well as those who are under-insured or not insured.”

Mitchell added, “I urge everyone impacted by the storm to avail themselves of the links and contact information in the attachment as soon as possible. This is likely to be a bureaucratic process and reimbursement may not be swift. It is, nonetheless, appreciated.”

If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy, file your insurance claim immediately, before applying for federal assistance. The faster you file, the faster your recovery can begin.

You can register for FEMA disaster assistance online by visiting  DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585.

Multilingual operators are available. Lines are open daily from 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

You will need to have the following available:

-A current phone number where you can be contacted

-Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying

-Your Social Security number, if available

-A general list of damages and losses

-If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name

If you cannot return to your home, or you are unable to live in your home, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, or call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY) to determine what federal, state, local, or voluntary agency assistance may be available to you.

If you can return to your home and it is safe, has working power, water and sewer or septic service, visit DisasterAssistance.gov to determine if state, voluntary and local organizations in your community can address any unmet needs.

“The people of Alabama are resilient,” said Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director, Brian Hastings. “We witnessed the immense damage caused by these tornadoes, and the incredible work accomplished by the local community to respond & recover. This federal assistance is another tool to assist eligible survivors and communities in their long-term recovery process.”

Disaster assistance may provide temporary help and a place to stay while you build your recovery plan. Although the federal government cannot make you whole, it may be able to help your recovery move forward by providing grants for basic repairs to make your home safe, accessible and secure. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, those without insurance, or those who may be underinsured, may still receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.

“We’re working closely with Alabama EMA and voluntary agencies to connect survivors with the resources they need to start their recovery,” said Allan Jarvis, FEMA’s chief coordinating official in Alabama.

Long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and that do not duplicate benefits from other agencies or organizations.

If referred, applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov or by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

For referrals to Alabama’s health and human service agencies as well as community organizations, dial 211, text 888-421-1266, or chat with referral specialists via www.211connectsalabama.org.

For more information on Alabama’s disaster recovery, visit Ema.alabama.gov, AlabamaEMA Facebook page, Fema.gov/disaster/4596 and Facebook.com/fema.