DuBos: Stay persistent in dealing with FEMA

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 18, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 18 at 11:08 PM

As contractors continue cleaning up the debris left by Hurricane Isaac, residents who suffered losses are beginning to file claims with FEMA. And that’s the topic of this week’s Commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

Now comes the really hard part of hurricane recovery: dealing with FEMA. As Eyewitness News reported earlier this week, you have to be both patient and persistent when dealing with the federal agency.

FEMA offers emergency assistance for homeowners and renters, but it doesn’t always treat every application as an “emergency.” As one official put it, a denial may simply mean that FEMA wants more information. Or, as my teenage son likes to say, “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no,” it just means, “not yet.”

This is a lesson that many learned after Hurricane Katrina. Many who were turned away early gave up — but those who persisted often got results.

I remember one FEMA official telling me a few years ago that the best strategy for dealing with the agency is simply never to give up. Remember, FEMA is part of the federal government; it’s not a drive-through bank teller. It’s not set up for quick cash. You have to dot every “i” and cross every “t.”

It can be frustrating, even infuriating. But if you have a good claim, stick with it. Hopefully, FEMA — like the rest of us — learned some hard lessons from Katrina.

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To share your opinion on this Clancy DuBos commentary, email commentary@wwltv.com.

To sign up for FEMA benefits, call toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

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