FEMA Ending Assistance in Oklahoma After Record Flooding

Registration for FEMA aid ends Wednesday. Survivors who have discovered holes in their insurance coverage should contact FEMA for potential help. Statewide, FEMA has dispensed $14.5 million to over 5,000 registrants.

by Chesley Oxendine, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla. / August 14, 2019

(TNS) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has begun winding down their presence in Oklahoma following near-record flooding of the Arkansas River in late May.

Mitigation specialists completed their last day posted at the Shawnee Bypass Lowe’s Home Improvement Store on Monday, assisting residents in rebuilding homes in a way that would survive another flood incident, according to a release from FEMA Representative Carl Henderson.

Registration for FEMA assistance ends Wednesday. In particular, the release states survivors who have discovered holes in their insurance coverage should contact FEMA for potential help.

“FEMA cannot duplicate benefits, but some survivors may be eligible for federal assistance,” the release notes.

The release lists a set of circumstances which may entitle them to further assistance, such as if the cost of damage doesn’t reach a person’s insurance deductible, or if needs remain unmet even after insurance claims have been paid out.

The latest attempt to reach unregistered survivors marks the end of a months-long effort in afflicted counties to ensure everyone eligible for assistance receives it, Henderson said.

“It’s important for us to reach out to everyone who might need help,” he said. “In more than one case, you might see that water got up to the porch but never got in the house and say, oh, it didn’t get inside. But then you find out it got under the house and damaged the floors or something.”

FEMA has dispensed more than $3.9 million in direct assistance to 557 registrants in Muskogee County in the months following the flood, which raised the Arkansas River to over 45 feet. Cherokee County has received $65,200 for 99 registrants, while Wagoner County received $750,200 for their 225 registrants for assistance, Henderson said.

“The community response has been good,” Henderson said.

Statewide, FEMA has dispensed $14.5 million to over 5,000 registrants.

What to do

Affected residents must have registered with Federal Emergency Management Agency or applied with the Small Business Administration before Wednesday’s deadline to be considered for these grants or loans for physical damage.

By law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance or other benefits. However, FEMA may be able to help with uninsured or underinsured losses in the following cases:

• If the cost of your damage does not reach the level of your deductible.

• If you have received the settlement from the insurance company but you still have unmet needs.

• If you have exhausted the settlement for Additional Living Expenses (ALE for loss of use) and you need disaster-related temporary housing.

• If your settlement does not cover disaster-related needs such as medical, dental and funeral costs, emergency home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.

• If your settlement has been delayed longer than 30 days, you may write to FEMA to explain your situation.

Provide insurance documentation to prove you’ve submitted your claim, including the claim number, the date you applied and how long you estimate it will take for the company to settle and mail your letter to:

FEMA - Individuals & Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-70155, or fax it to (800) 827-8112.

Affected residents and business owners in Muskogee, Cherokee and Wagoner counties may apply for disaster assistance through Wednesday by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration number, (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585. An application may also be completed online by going to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

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©2019 the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.)

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