MUSKOGEE, Okla. — After the historic winter storm in February 2021, many Oklahomans are eligible for emergency federal assistance.
One Muskogee man couldn't get the help he needs, so he called 2 News Problem Solvers.
The snow, the wind, the sub-freezing temperatures really did a job on water pipes throughout Oklahoma.
"It was a mess,” said Randolph Steward. "I mean they really froze really bad, they popped lines, busted lines the water was running everywhere."
Steward said he has PVC piping and made some band-aid repairs. But he needs emergency financial assistance from FEMA to make permanent repairs to his pipes and home. He also needs to pay a $1,000 water bill.
He applied with FEMA a couple of months ago and they turned him down.
"They told me when I contacted FEMA they said everyone around you has filed the declaration for emergency assistance except for Muskogee County and the town on Muskogee,” said Steward.
He said he heard conflicting information and couldn't get answers when he called the city.
A city spokesperson told 2 News, "Muskogee filed an emergency declaration on February 22. FEMA officially declared Muskogee County eligible on May 20. We will find out and let residents know if FEMA needs more information. We don't want our residents to suffer any more than they already have."
"That's a relief by itself because I didn't know how I was going to go about it. There are a lot of people who don't know what to do, they don't know what the proper procedure is,” said Steward.
But does he need to reapply with FEMA?
2 News learned anyone who applied and got a FEMA file number should not need to apply again.
Some in depth information from FEMA:
- The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
- There is no wait to register online and you can do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- If you have insurance and are applying for assistance, you must also file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible.
- FEMA cannot pay for losses covered by insurance.
- If you'd rather call to register the number is 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week.
When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:
- Current phone number where you can be contacted
- Address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
- Social Security number, if available
- General list of damage and losses
- If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to businesses, homeowners and renters. Call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance [sba.gov].
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