Some OK Tornado Victims Frustrated By FEMA Approval Process

Thursday, June 6th 2013, 10:32 pm
By: News 9

Thousands of storm victims who have applied for FEMA disaster assistance aren't too happy with the approval process to get the money they desperately need.

Some storm victims say they have what they think qualifies them to get the federal money, but are denied the assistance. FEMA says a little more than 7,700 people in Oklahoma have registered through the agency, of those though, only about 1,500 payments have been disbursed.

"The FEMA people come through the neighborhood telling us, whether we thought we needed it or not, we need to go ahead and fill it out," said Moore tornado victim, Russell Milligan.

Milligan and his family are one of a few who have been able to get back into their home of 28 years two weeks after the May 20 Moore tornado. They say the process to get FEMA money to make necessary repairs to their home, hasn't been easy.

"I actually registered the day after, went over to the First Baptist Church, took care of the insurance, getting that going, we registered with FEMA, and it's just been hectic," said Milligan.

"You register, and within a matter of days, you get a call back from a FEMA inspector, make an appointment, not just say I'll be out sometime tomorrow, we make a specific appointment," said FEMA spokesperson, Nate Custer.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Custer says there's no income level to qualify for the money. If FEMA determines you're eligible for a grant, they'll consider it, but on a case by case basis.

"Even if you have insurance, register, because it may be that the insurance isn't going to cover what you thought it might, or maybe you're under insured," said Custer.

"You know, you've got insurance deductible, and depreciation on things, so we don't know how that's going to turn out," said Milligan.

Russell and his wife continue to go through the application process, still unsure if they'll even quality for the federal money. The max pay out from FEMA, at one time, is $31,900. For the Milligan's, a fraction of that would be a blessing.

FEMA urges those in the counties affected to register as soon as possible.