FEMA extends deadline for flood assistance

Sep. 27—FRANKFORT — With the deadline for East Kentucky flood survivors to apply for federal assistance from FEMA originally set to lapse on Wednesday, the agency has decided to give residents more time.

On Monday, FEMA announced the application deadline would be extended by another month, to October 28, for survivors in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, and Whitley counties.

The decision comes at the request of the commonwealth as well as Kentucky's Congressional delegation.

In a September 19 letter to the FEMA administration, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Dean of the House, joined U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul, and Congressmen Andy Barr, James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth in requesting a 30-day extension to allow more time for individuals to seek funding to rebuild homes and repair property.

"As you know, the severity of this flooding event has displaced thousands of Kentuckians, many of whom are still seeking temporary shelter and basic needs as they work to rebuild their lives. The continued rain and challenging topography of this emergency has created a prolonged response phase and more time is needed to ensure that all eligible individuals are able to apply for the assistance they so desperately need," the letter stated.

FEMA has disbursed more than $72 million in Individual Assistance for housing and other needs since the Major Disaster Declaration was issued.

FEMA assistance for individuals affected by the July floods can cover rental assistance, temporary housing, home repairs, personal property losses and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance. FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

Kentuckians can apply for federal disaster assistance several ways:

—Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for other languages. If you use a relay service such as video relay service (VRS) or captioned telephone service, give FEMA the number for that service.

—Visit a FEMA disaster recovery center to apply. Find the nearest recovery center by visiting www.fema.gov/drc or by calling the FEMA Helpline.

—Apply online by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov; or

—Use the FEMA mobile app. Survivors can also use their smart phone, open the FEMA App and select "Talk to FEMA in person."

For an accessible video on how to apply for FEMA assistance, go to youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.

If you have insurance, you are encouraged to file a claim for damage to your home, personal property and vehicles before you apply for FEMA assistance. FEMA cannot duplicate other sources of assistance you may have received.

FEMA representatives are in Whitley County this week to answer questions and offer home improvement tips and proven methods to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. This information is geared for do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

Mitigation is an effort to reduce the loss of life and property damage by lessening the impact of disaster. These mitigation specialists will be available through Saturday, October 1, at the Bryant & Son True Value Hardware, 372 S. Fifth St., Williamsburg, KY 40769.

The representatives will be available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. — 5 p.m.; and Saturday 8 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.

For the latest information, follow FEMA on Twitter at FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4) / Twitter and at facebook.com/fema.