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FEMA, SBA extend deadline for Oklahomans to apply for disaster assistance

State officials asked for extension to make sure all affected by storms have opportunity to seek help.
by Brianna Bailey Published: July 16, 2013

The deadline to apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been extended to August 19 as the amount of FEMA dollars approved in Oklahoma disaster areas topped more than $12.2 million Monday.

FEMA officials have extended the deadline 30 days from the original deadline of this Friday for Oklahomans in the nine counties deemed eligible for disaster aid.

As of Monday, 14,326 people have registered for assistance with FEMA in Canadian, Cleveland, Le Flore, Lincoln, McClain, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee and Pottawatomie Counties in the wake of damage from spring storms.

The deadline was extended at the request of state officials to allow people in all affected counties at least 60 days to apply for disaster assistance, as several counties were added to the disaster list in the days and weeks after the May 20 tornado, FEMA spokesman Nate Custer said.

“The feeling was that there may be some people who have not been able to apply yet as the deadline grew closer,” Custer said.

FEMA grant money is available for home repairs not covered by insurance, including structural repairs as well as repairs for water systems, ventilation and heating and cooling systems.

The deadline for residents and businesses to apply for low-interest disaster recovery loans through the Small Business Administration has also been extended to Aug. 19.

SBA loans for renters and homeowners as well as businesses and some nonprofits are available to help cover repair costs of storm damage.

“Typically, people are slow to talk to us because they do not want loans, but we encourage people to apply because you never know that you might end up needing more money than you have available through your insurance settlement,” said Gary Colton, a spokesman for the SBA.

The SBA had approved nearly $26.5 million in disaster recovery loans in affected counties as of Monday, Colton said.

More information about available aid can be found at disasterassistance.gov.

by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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