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Deadline for federal disaster assistance for Maui fire survivors looms

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s search and rescue team member works in a residential area consumed by a wildfire in Lahaina, on Aug. 18. The deadline is approaching for Maui homeowners and renters affected by the Aug. 8 fires to apply for federal disaster assistance from FEMA as well as the U.S. Small Business Administration.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s search and rescue team member works in a residential area consumed by a wildfire in Lahaina, on Aug. 18. The deadline is approaching for Maui homeowners and renters affected by the Aug. 8 fires to apply for federal disaster assistance from FEMA as well as the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The deadline is approaching for Maui homeowners and renters affected by the Aug. 8 fires to apply for federal disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The deadline to apply for both federal agencies is Monday, Dec. 11.

Disaster survivors are encouraged to file insurance claims for damage or losses to their primary homes, personal property and vehicles before applying for FEMA assistance. However, survivors may apply for FEMA assistance while waiting to hear about their insurance claims.

“Approval for federal assistance is based on the specifics of each FEMA application, including documentation provided by the FEMA applicant,” said FEMA in a news release. “You have up to 12 months from the date that you registered with FEMA to submit your insurance settlement or denial letter to FEMA for review.”

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid, are nontaxable, and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

FEMA said its individual assistance program helps survivors with basic, critical, disaster-related needs such as a safe, sanitary and accessible place to live. It includes help with rent, reimbursement for lodging expenses, and help with home repairs and replacements.

The Small Business Administration, meanwhile, provides low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, nonprofits and businesses. Homeowners may borrow up to $500,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $100,000 to repair or replace personal property.

The American Red Cross can help survivors who may be ineligible for certain FEMA programs with financial assistance, temporary housing in hotels and other services.

>> To apply for FEMA assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Helpline operators are available from 1 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for an interpreter who speaks your language.

>> For SBA disaster assistance, apply online or download applications at www.sba.gov/hawaii-wildfires. Contact SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.

>> To schedule an appointment with the Red Cross, visit RedCross.org/HIhelp or call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767) or speak to a Red Cross representative at a Disaster Recovery Center at the Maui College Community Services Center Building, 310 W. Kaahumanu Ave. or at Lahaina Civic Center, 1840 Honoapiilani Highway.

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