New Mexico wildfire victims still waiting for federal aid

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – FEMA officials provided more information on the $2.5 billion boost from Capitol Hill for Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire and flood victims. 

The president signed off on the federal assistance at the end of September, but officials said Monday that it could be another three to four months before any money is given out. Starting Monday, those affected can submit a Notice of Loss form by mail or email. Once the Claims Office reviews a form, it has up to 180 days to determine how much money to pay out. That process will not likely begin until the spring of 2023. 

FEMA said anyone impacted by the fire or flooding from the fire is eligible for full compensation for any financial loss, property loss, or injury. Individuals can be compensated for missing paychecks, rising insurance costs or relocation expenses, and local businesses can file claims for lost revenue and equipment.

FEMA also said it is putting more boots on the ground in New Mexico to help people in rural communities file for assistance. 

“We will be identifying and opening facilities to provide one-on-one assistance at fixed and mobile offices, including locations in San Miguel Mora County and Santa Fe,” said Angela Gladwell, the Director of the new Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Claims Office. 

Gladwell added that FEMA is working as quickly as possible to get those offices up and running. The agency even modeled the rules and regulations for this program after the Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Act from 2000, that way it could roll them out in just 45 days. 

Because this is a tighter timeline, Gladwell said FEMA is prepared to make changes to rules and regulations as needed. A 60-day public comment period begins today, and FEMA will hold four public meetings in affected communities to make sure needs specific to this fire are met. Click here for more information on meeting times and locations. 

Even with the rush, fire and flooding victims who have already waited several months for relief, are not in a position to wait any longer. 

WATCH BELOW: KOB 4 spoke with several people who have experienced unimaginable loss and  say they have received little to no assistance so far. 

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Click here for more information on how and where to submit a Notice of Loss form.