Tornado Recovery: Many survivors don’t know they are eligible for assistance

Officials are urging people affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes to seek assistance, as the window to apply for aid from FEMA closes in 30 days.

In just one month, residents affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes will no longer be able to apply to the SBA or FEMA for assistance.

Right now, there are three recovery centers still open for people who have questions or need to apply for help.

News Center 7's Monica Castro shares which documents you need to bring before time runs out.

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It’s been nearly two months since 15 tornadoes touched down in the Miami Valley, leaving wreckage and devastation.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman said many people are not applying because they think they are not qualified for assistance. But they could be wrong.

“There are some survivors that find they may have received a determination letter that says they are ineligible, but that doesn’t mean they are ineligible for assistance. It may just mean that they didn’t provide the necessary documentation,” Erin Gaddis, FEMA media relations specialist said.

Whether you go to a recovery center to apply, or do it online, here is what you need:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of damaged property
  • Description of damage
  • Insurance information
  • Telephone number
  • Mailing address
  • Bank account and routing numbers

“If any one of those pieces of information are incorrect you may find that you are ineligible,” Gaddis said.

And, residents can file an appeal if they are deemed ineligible.

FEMA representatives said there is a misconception that they won’t get help if they have insurance or that it’s based in income.

“Income level does not determine your eligibility for disaster assistance,” Gaddis said.

It also doesn’t matter whether the damage is minor or major.

“The amount of damage you have kind of determines the type of assistance that you have,” she said.

The FEMA recovery center at Shaw Elementary School, 3560 Kemp Road in Beavercreek will close for good this coming Tuesday.

There are two other centers, at Trotwood Madison High School, 4440 N. Union road, Trotwood, and at Dayton Children’s Hospital, 1 Children’s Plaza, Dayton.