Missing info could delay, nix storm aid

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Hundreds of storm survivors,including many in Northeast Mississippi, could lose federal disaster aid due to incomplete applications.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said this week that more than 1,300 of the roughly 7,000 Mississippi residents who applied for assistance since April hadn’t reported insurance settlement information. It urges those people to update their applications immediately.
The deadline to apply for federal disaster assistance expiredTuesday. It had been available to residents in 29 counties – including six in Northeast Mississippi – ravaged this spring by tornadoes and severe storms.
Without the settlement data, the Federal Emergency Management Agency can’t process applications. And affected residents face long delays – or possibly denials – in their requests for shelter and money.
One-third of the incomplete applications belong to residents in Chickasaw, Hinds and Monroe counties, MEMA said.
“It is so important that disaster survivors with insurance report their settlement information to FEMA,” said MEMA Director Mike Womack in a press release. “FEMA cannot continue processing your application until they know how much your insurance company will pay. More than 1,300 families in Mississippi may be missing out on FEMA assistance right now because they haven’t reported their insurance settlement information.”
To report settlement data to FEMA, contact (800) 621-3362.
Those who haven’t yet received settlements or disagree with their settlements should contact the Mississippi Insurance Department Consumer Helpline at (800)562-2957.
“In those cases we can investigate and in many cases help expedite claims settlement,” said Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney in a news statement.