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Montanans approved for FEMA payouts, help centers open in flood areas

Posted at 12:41 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 14:42:07-04

ABSAROKEE - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has paid out more than $300,000 to people affected by flooding in Montana, and the agency says it has additional money available.

To navigate the application process and explore sources of potential assistance, FEMA, the Red Cross, and other state and federal agencies are opening in-person Disaster Recovery Centers across the flood zone.

“We help with a variety of different programs. It depends on what your needs are, what your damage is, what your requirements are, whether or not you have insurance," said FEMA Disaster Recovery Manager Susie Breeding.

"It’s against the law to duplicate benefits with insurance so even though you file insurance you may still be eligible for other FEMA programs and other FEMA services, so we want everyone to apply," Breeding continued.

The Disaster Recovery Centers are open in several locations in Park, Stillwater and Carbon counties.

“We’re here to help and offer hope and referrals and other agencies are also represented, so we’re kind of a one-stop-shop," Breeding said.

FEMA has identified 287 applicants eligible for individual assistance as of July 11, 2022.

Many claims are still in progress, but FEMA says $325,970 in individual assistance has been paid out across the flood zone.

In trying to find help recovering costs, Louise Porter with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says people may not realize how many options they have available.

"People never realize that during presidential-declared disasters, such as this one, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest rate loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes," Porter said.

Both FEMA and the SBA are stressing that people should apply early and apply to all of the options available at once.

People do not have to wait to be rejected to try another option.

The Disaster Recovery Center can help people navigate all parts of the process and no appointment is necessary to stop by.

“We want you to come by. We’re here for Montana. We’re here for the people affected by the disaster," Breeding said.

Here is more info on when and where the centers are open:

  • The Disaster Recovery Center will be open in Carbon County at Roosevelt Junior High School in Red Lodge daily from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
  • The Disaster Recovery Center will be open in Stillwater County at Absarokee Elementary School. It will run daily from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
  • The Disaster Recovery Center will be open in Park County at Park High School in Livingston. It will run daily from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Several Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRIC) are also coming to the area. The locations will have Disaster Survivor Assistance teams onsite assisting with applications, inquiries, updates, and referrals.

  • Carbon County: Fromberg Methodist Church, 14 North Montana Ave., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Park County: Gardiner High School, 510 W. Stone St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It is not necessary to go to a center to apply for assistance. If possible, before going to a Disaster Recovery Center people should apply for assistance with FEMA online or by calling.

  • Visit DisasterAssistance.gov and click “Apply Online”
  • Call 800-621-3362. The toll-free number is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. MDT. (People who use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned phone, or others, should give FEMA the number for that service.)
  • Download the FEMA App for smartphones or mobile devices
  • For an accessible video on how to apply for FEMA assistance, go to youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.

FEMA financial assistance may include money for temporary housing, basic home repairs or other disaster-related needs such as childcare, transportation and medical, funeral or dental expenses.

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are also available for homeowners, renters, businesses and most private nonprofits to help with residential and business losses not covered by insurance.

After registering with FEMA, survivors and businesses may apply online at SBA’s secure website https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela; or obtain information on SBA disaster loan applications by calling 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for those with hearing loss) or online at www.sba.gov/disaster.