Timeframe for FEMA assistance has been extended

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Because of continuous traffic and residents applying for assistance in St. John the Baptist Parish, parish administration and the State of Louisiana have requested an extension for residents to received Hurricane Isaac Assistance. As a result, FEMA has extended the deadline for individuals to apply for assistance following Hurricane Isaac, which means Louisiana residents affected by the storm have until Nov. 29, 2012, to register for federal aid.

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2012, damaging at least 7,000 residences in St. John the Baptist Parish and causing millions in damage to public infrastructure. Over 12,000 St. John residents have applied for FEMA aid following Hurricane Isaac. FEMA has approved more than $22 million in direct aid to St. John residents through its Individual Assistance program.

I understand many residents have applied for FEMA assistance, but St. John still has a number of residents who have not applied. I am encouraging every resident who has been impacted by Hurricane Isaac to register with FEMA. With the 30 day extension, residents still have time to register and possibly receive assistance.

People who suffered damages as a result of Hurricane Isaac can register for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. For 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362. FEMA’s toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

For a list of open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers, visit http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4080.

Residents who have already applied but were denied FEMA aid have the right to appeal that decision. Applicants who wish to appeal any ineligibility decision should submit a letter to FEMA explaining in detail why they believe the decision is incorrect.

The applicant, or someone who represents the applicant, should sign the letter to FEMA and include their application number on each page of the letter and on any documentation that is also submitted. If the person writing the letter is not a member of the applicant’s household, the appeal should include a signed statement from the applicant affirming that the person may act on their behalf.

The appeal letter must be postmarked, received by fax or personally submitted at a Disaster Recovery Center within 60 days of the date on the decision letter. Keeping a copy of the appeal letter as a record is encouraged.

Appeal letters can be mailed to FEMA here:  ATTN: FEMA Individuals and Households Program, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055.

 Appeal letters can be faxed to FEMA at its National Processing Service Center at 1-800-827-8112.

Applicants ineligible for FEMA assistance may still be eligible for other programs such as disaster unemployment or help from nonprofit organizations. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are also available for homeowners, renters and business owners for losses not fully covered by insurance or other sources.