Some Tornado Victims Having Trouble Getting Federal Aid

Some Tornado Victims Having Trouble Getting Federal Aid

Some folks are coming forward saying they're running into road blocks in receiving any FEMA help.
VILONIA, AR- FEMA teams are still on ground in devastated areas hit by the April 27th tornado. While some residents are getting federal assistance, others say they're running into constant roadblocks and are having a tough time getting federal help.

Three separate families say they've had to re-apply for FEMA assistance because they're not eligible. These are families who have and don't have insurance. Debbie Rotten is one victim who is still waiting to hear back from FEMA with good news.

"They're telling me that we are ineligible for help at this time. And I can't get an answer as to why I'm ineligible," says Debbie Rotton, tornado victim.

While Rotton's done everything through FEMA, she's not seeing any aid.

"It's just frustrating. If the President declared this a disaster, I thought FEMA automatically stepped in," says Rotton.

Debbie says she applied for assistance, was denied, then reapplied. It's been a week since she's heard anything.

"People need answers. They need to know if they're going to get help and where they're going to go from there," says Rotton.

We took Rotton's and other victims' concerns to FEMA officials who say they've already helped 1200 people register, and granted more than $1.8 million dollars in the last 2 weeks.

"The process is very quick, but also we have to act responsibly and check those applications," says Peter Lembessis, FEMA spokesman.

While FEMA understands there are issues, they encourage you to re-apply and visit them in person.

"Maybe their phone number was wrong, maybe their address was wrong, by one digit," explains Lembessis.

However, victims like Rotton believe if that's the case, something more needs to be done to speed up the process.

"They just need to do something to help people right now," says Rotton. "People don't have 7-10 days to wait."

Overall, FEMA officials told me if you're having issues, you need to see them in person. They have two staging areas, one in Vilonia and the other in Mayflower.

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