Federal and state officials in Massachusetts announced a two-week extension for victims of the mid-May floods in Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties to register for assistance to help aid in recovery from uninsured or under-insured losses stemming from the event. The extension to August 7 was granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Officials reiterated that often victims fail to register because they have home insurance and assume they are not eligible, only to later learn that assistance may have been available but, the registration period has already closed.
Recovery officials urge residents and business owners with flood-related damage in the disaster-declared counties of Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk to register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The number for those with speech or hearing impairment is 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Lines are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm, seven days a week. You may also register online at www.fema.gov.
Low-interest disaster loans are also available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for uninsured or underinsured damages to homes, personal property and businesses. More information on SBA loans can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955. Those who have registered, but have not yet returned their SBA paperwork, should do so immediately, even if they are unsure if they are going to avail themselves of this opportunity, because it keeps the option open to do so in the future.
MEMA and FEMA staff completed briefings for local and state officials, as well as private non-profit organizations, to set in motion the federal Public Assistance (PA) Program for reimbursement for eligible expenses in Essex and Middlesex Counties impacted by the May 12-23 flooding. Under this Public Assistance Program, affected local governments, many private non-profit organizations and state agencies are eligible to apply for federal funds to be reimbursed for 75% of the approved cost of debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing, replacing or restoring damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. The remaining 25% cost is expected to be shared equally by the state and local governments. 'Kick-Off Meetings' for communities, with FEMA representatives, to initiate the paperwork and inspection process are ongoing.