Some Oklahoma Flood Victims Still In Need Of Assistance
WEBBERS FALLS, Oklahoma - Flood victims said they're having problems getting financial assistance from federal agencies like FEMA.
Chris Adams and his family have been in his home, across from the Arkansas River, for nearly 6 years until recent flood waters destroyed it.
"We lost probably 95 percent of our personal belongings," Adams said.
Now they live in a trailer and their son moved out because there wasn't enough room.
Adams is a disabled veteran hoping to get back on his feet with a loan from the Small Business Administration.
"I was hoping to get some assistance in setting up a larger home so that my family could be reunited," Adams said.
He says the SBA denied their request and FEMA gave them $1,500.
"I was kind of numb, I was kind of counting on a little bit of assistance to help us establish a permanent homestead," Adams said.
Other Webbers Falls flood victims say they're dealing with problems getting requests approved.
In a statement, FEMA said they can't comment on specific situations but said residents can appeal.
"We were never looking for anything, I was just looking for some assistance with the loans, and just trying to reestablish," Adams said.
The appeal process is outlined in the letter each flood victim receives and workers at the Disaster Recovery Centers can also help.
FEMA and the SBA opened a new disaster recovery center in Gore, July 5th.
In regard to determination letters FEMA said the following in a recent news release:
"It’s important to read the determination letter carefully to identify the reason for being declared ineligible. Some common reasons include:
• The person is insured and needs to provide an insurance settlement or denial to be considered for assistance.
• Additional information is needed from the survivor, i.e. proof of identity, proof of occupancy, annual income, or a child care assistance letter.
• There were multiple registrations using the same address.
• Damages occurred to a secondary residence (where the survivor lives less than six months of the year).
• The home is safe to occupy, and/or personal property had minimum or no damages.
• Missed inspections and no follow-up communication with FEMA.
• FEMA is unable to contact the applicant.
Once an applicant understands the reason for being ineligible, they can decide whether to appeal the decision. To do so, they need to submit all required information along with a letter describing in detail their reason (or reasons) for appealing.
The applicant should also attach documentation about unmet needs they believe were not covered by the initial decision. This might include official insurance documents, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses (including home repair or hotel expenses) and official estimates including the contractor’s license and contact information."