Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Options Still Available for Miss. Residents Seeking Help

People in Mississippi who have applied for disaster assistance for losses sustained during the severe storms and tornadoes of April 4 may still be able to get help even if they have received a denial letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency saying they are ineligible because they are insured.

People who get such a letter should consider visiting the FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center located at the Willie Morris Library, 4912 Old Canton Road, Jackson, to discuss details about their claim and to get advice after getting their insurance settlement papers.

"By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers or pay for deductibles," explained Michael Parker, FEMA's federal coordinating officer. "But in some cases, if insurance did not cover all your losses, we may be able to help."

FEMA may cover expenses for renting a hotel room while a home is inaccessible or uninhabitable for insured victims if their insurance does not cover that cost. Also, repair of certain items such as wells and septic tanks which are usually not insurable may be covered by FEMA. Applicants, even though they may have received a letter denying their claim, should not hesitate to contact FEMA for clarification of assistance.

Insured applicants will be asked to submit proof of the insurance settlement.

"Even if you have insurance coverage, don't wait for a settlement before registering with FEMA," said MEMA Director Mike Womack. "If you wait for your insurer to act, it may be too late to register for federal assistance. The filing deadline is July 27."

Those who have not already registered with FEMA for disaster assistance should do so as soon as possible by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. Then, after receiving a denial letter and your insurance settlement, call FEMA back with your case number and update your information.

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