Thirteen more counties have been added to the federal disaster declaration for losses from damage in storms back in May and June. FEMA’s Crystal Payton says damage-assessment surveys centered on the hardest-hit counties first, but others have been added as the reports are analyzed. She says the agency wants to make sure individuals with storm-related damages who weren’t in the hardest-hit counties still are not “left out in the cold.” The deadline to apply to assistance remains July 26, and Payton says it may well be worth it for people to apply by calling 1-800-621-FEMA. They might get reimbursement for repairs they’ve already made, so if they take a few minutes to make the call an inspector will be sent out. She says right now that’s taking just two days so even with the holiday if they call today someone could come on Tuesday to check their eligibility for the FEMA program. Whether you’ve filed an insurance claim or even been turned down by homeowner’s or other insurance, Payton says you may be eligible for the federal reimbursement. They’re looking for damages eligible under FEMA program guidelines — so if you’ve already fixed the roof or pumped the water out of your basement, if the inspector sees the work you’ve done and your receipts, you may be eligible for reimbursement for what you’ve spent. She says after all, this isn’t a handout, it’s your tax dollars, and regardless of income or other criteria, you have it coming if you have storm-related damage. The first criteria is that your loss must have occurred in the “incident period,” the time between May 19 and June 24.
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