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00 - FEMA FAQs for Disaster Survivors: What to Expect / What to do

Organization: Government
Facility Type: Info/Hotline
Status: Open

Address:
, US 00000

Region:
County/Parish:










This organization provides Temporary or Permanent Service? Temporary

Notes:

FOR DISASTER RELIEF or Government Programs 800 333 4636

To find out if you qualify for assistance:

http://www.fema.gov/news/disaster_totals_annual.fema

Choose your state. Choose the button for whatever storm you are interested in. Note that it may be under "Emergency Declarations", the second set of declarations, or scroll down to see all lists. Then choose the button for "designated counties" to see if your county is there. Note the box on the right hand and choose the "tab" for "individual assistance" to see if your county is qualified to receive federal funds for individuals. Note that "Category B" declarations usually don't have any funds available for individuals. Only for towns and cities.

2011: Several press releases have come out saying that getting a "no" letter is NOT the end of the process.

Posted June 2008
See also below this posting for additional postings.

This post was for Iowa, but seemed useful to all disaster zones, so we posted it here, too...

***

New Damage Requires Phone Call, But Not Re-Registration
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Release Number: 1763-012

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa citizens affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding on May 25, who have already registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and have incurred additional damage, do not have to re-register with FEMA.

"Residents of Black Hawk, Buchanan and Butler counties who registered damage with FEMA only need to report additional damage to FEMA,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Vogel. Citizens can call FEMA's toll-free Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, or go online anytime at www.fema.gov to report new damage.

As of Monday night, June 9, more than 825 people from the designated counties had registered with FEMA. "The disaster declaration for the three counties receiving Individual Assistance is continuing,” said State Coordinating Officer Pat Hall of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD). "Damage incurred by homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations continues to be included.”

Residents and business owners from Black Hawk, Buchanan or Butler counties who received new damage from severe storms, tornadoes or flooding should be registered with FEMA even if they have insurance. FEMA does not duplicate insurance payments, but insured applicants may be eligible for assistance for expenses not covered by insurance.

Individuals could receive assistance to help pay for uninsured temporary housing needs, essential home repairs and/or other serious disaster-related expenses, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.

Registration with FEMA is required separately from registration with any other disaster relief organizations. When registering, applicants should provide current contact information, insurance information, a brief description of damage sustained as well as the specific location of damaged property.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

***

This post was for Montana, but seemed useful to all disaster zones, so we posted it here, too...

***

Denial Letter May Not Be Last Word on Disaster Assistance
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Release Number: 1760-011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Don't despair if you received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stating that you have been denied for disaster assistance. It may be that FEMA cannot complete the assistance evaluation process until you supply additional personal information or insurance information.

An applicant may be denied assistance for various reasons, including insufficient storm-related damage or adequate insurance coverage. It's important that even if you have registered with FEMA, you call and keep them informed of any changes in your status. Also, be sure to call to update personal information or additional insurance information.

"A denial may mean that FEMA does not have all the information needed to make a decision regarding the applicant's disaster aid," said Michael Karl, federal coordinating officer for FEMA operations in Missouri. "Remember that this first letter may not be the last word."

There are several reasons why an applicant may receive a denial letter; many are easily fixed. The most common reason is that the applicants are insured. Indicated as "INS" or "IINS" on the denial letter, it simply means that FEMA requires more information on the insurance settlement before a final decision can be made.

Other common reasons for denial letters:

The applicant did not provide or sign the required documents.
The applicant did not prove occupancy or ownership.
The damage is to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence. (By law, applicants are eligible for FEMA disaster assistance only if the damage is to their primary residence ­­-- where the person usually lives and was living at the time of the disaster.)
Someone else in the household has already applied and received help.
The applicant registered before the disaster was officially declared for their county. (If this applies to you, be sure to call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to verify your status.)
If FEMA determines that applicants are not eligible for a federal grant, they may still be eligible for other assistance such as a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, disaster unemployment assistance, and tax assistance.

"Federal disaster assistance is designed to help with uninsured or under-insured losses caused by the disaster," Karl explained. "The disaster funds give many a starting place or 'hand up' to begin the recovery process."

An applicant also has the right to appeal a denial in writing within 60 days from the date of the decision of the letter. Guidelines for appeals can be found in the "Help After a Disaster" handbook that each applicant receives. Applicants can also get guidance on this issue at any Disaster Recovery Center or by calling the FEMA Registration Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

***

This post was for Mississippi, but seemed useful to all disaster zones, so we posted it here, too...

Insurance Doesn't Stop Disaster Aid
Release Date: May 31, 2008
Release Number: 1753-016

» More Information on Mississippi Severe Storms and Flooding
http://www.fema.gov/news/event.fema?id=9766

CLINTON, Miss. -- Don't despair if you receive a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency stating that disaster assistance is not available to you. It may be that FEMA cannot complete the assistance evaluation process until insurance claims are settled and submitted to FEMA for review. Insured applicants may still be eligible for disaster funds.

Federal disaster aid is designed to help with uninsured or under-insured losses caused by a disaster.

Any Mississippian who receives a letter from FEMA stating that a claim for federal assistance has been deemed ineligible because of insurance should contact their insurance company and request a settlement letter. That information and any new or additional information gained since the initial disaster assistance application was filed, should be mailed or faxed to the address provided in the letter from FEMA.

If FEMA determines that you are not eligible for a grant, you still may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance or a low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

SBA low-interest loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations.

For answers to questions regarding your application for assistance, call FEMA's Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The hearing- or speech-impaired should call TTY 1-800-462-7585.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

***

Posted June 2008
See also below this posting for additional postings.

Misunderstandings about Disaster Assistance
Release Date: May 30, 2008
Release Number: 1753-015

» More Information on Mississippi Severe Storms and Flooding

CLINTON, Miss. -- As many residents of Bolivar, Warren, Washington and Wilkinson Counties register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for financial disaster assistance in recovering from their recent severe storm and flooding losses, others may have concerns that will prevent them from applying.

Here are responses to some of the more common concerns:

* I have insurance, so no other help is available.

False: FEMA will not duplicate insurance benefits, but you may be eligible for help with losses not covered or damage in excess of your coverage ("under-insured") if within FEMA's program limits.

* I don't have to wait for my insurance adjuster before I apply for disaster assistance.

True: Don't wait for an adjuster before applying for aid or starting repairs to make your house livable. However, you should save receipts for any work done and take photographs of your damage.

* I already repaired my home, I don't need to apply.

False: You might get reimbursed for expenses not covered by insurance or face unexpected expenses.

* I got help from the Red Cross, so I can't get help from FEMA or the state.

False: FEMA and the states coordinate a number of programs to help disaster victims. These programs are different from the emergency food, clothing and shelter initially provided by the Red Cross and other voluntary agencies.

* I got help from the Red Cross, so I'm already registered with FEMA.

False: Registration with the Red Cross is not the same as registration with FEMA. For federal and state disaster assistance, you must apply by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or the TTY number, 1-800-462-7585.

* I don't have to be poor to qualify for disaster aid.

True: Federal and state disaster assistance is available to those who suffered damage regardless of income. The programs are based on disaster-related needs and the assistance is income-tax free.

* I have to be turned down by my bank before I can apply for a disaster loan.

False: If you lived in a declared county you are eligible to apply for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. If SBA cannot approve your loan application you may be referred to other agencies for assistance, but that can't happen if you don't return your completed SBA application.

* I must own a business to apply for a loan from the SBA.

False: The SBA low-interest loan is the primary source of long-term recovery assistance for homeowners, renters and business owners. SBA covers uninsured or underinsured losses for real estate as well as personal property.

* I rent an apartment. I can't get help.

False: There are several types of assistance available to renters. One type of grant helps renters with temporary housing if they have to move because of disaster damage or loss. Renters also may qualify for an SBA low-interest disaster loan.

* I'm self-employed and out of work; I can't qualify for disaster unemployment benefits.

False: Disaster Unemployment Assistance, funded by FEMA and administered by the state, provides benefits for workers who would not normally qualify for unemployment compensation, including those who are self-employed.

* If I accept disaster assistance a lien can be placed on my home.

False. Disaster assistance is not a loan and does not have to be repaid unless it is an SBA low-interest loan.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Source: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=43647

See below for more info!

***
Posted May 2008
See also below this posting for additional postings.

FEMA site inspection:

After every disaster, people impacted by it will be contacted by a number of people representing voluntary organizations, construction companies, safety and building officials, and government agencies. High on the list is the call from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) housing inspector.

On-site inspections are an important early step helping to speed aid to homeowners and renters suffering tornado damage. All inspectors carry photo identification and will have the FEMA registration number assigned to the person whose home is being inspected.

Only an official FEMA inspector will have the number that was provided during registration. The FEMA inspection is free. Again, beware of individuals attempting to charge for inspections or remodeling contractors claiming to be FEMA-approved. FEMA does not endorse construction firms.

When a FEMA inspector calls for an appointment, registrants should provide a clear, accurate description of the damaged property and current contact information. Registrants do not have to wait for the inspector to arrive before beginning repairs. Photos, contractor estimates, and receipts can be provided to FEMA inspectors to document the extent of the damage.

The inspection generally takes 30 - 40 minutes, and includes all areas of the home and personal property. The inspector enters damage-related information into a handheld computer and sends that data electronically to FEMA. The inspector does not determine whether a registrant is eligible for assistance, nor the amount of assistance an individual may receive.

Source: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=43595
Note: It appears to be regionally created, even though it was sent out nationally. Notice the reference to Jasper County contacts in the link to the FEMA press release.

+++

Common Misunderstandings May Cause Victims To Miss Disaster Assistance

In the first few weeks following a disaster, residents may be misled by half-truths and rumors about how to get help and the various assistance programs that are available. When residents suffer losses, the last thing they need is misinformation.

Disaster officials stress that notifying state, county, or local officials or registering with voluntary agencies such as the American Red Cross is NOT the same as registering with FEMA. To register for federal assistance, applicants must call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired, available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., local time seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to answer calls. Residents with Internet access can register on the agency's Web site at www.fema.gov, where valuable recovery information also is available. The deadline to apply for assistance is March 31.

Answers to some common questions about disaster assistance:

* I got help from the American Red Cross; can I still apply to FEMA if I need assistance?

Yes. FEMA coordinates a number of programs to help disaster victims. These programs are different from the emergency food, clothing and shelter initially provided by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other voluntary agencies.

* I don't really want a loan; do I still need to fill out the SBA application when I receive it?

Yes. If you do not qualify for a loan, you may be considered for other forms of assistance. You may qualify for the "Other Needs Assistance" program that is designed to help meet serious, disaster-related needs. However, you must complete and return the SBA loan application. If the loan application is not returned, you may not be considered for further FEMA assistance.

* I have flood damage to my vacation home. Can I get help with repairs to a damaged secondary residence?

No. FEMA only provides assistance for your primary residence.

* I have insurance. Is there other help available to me?

Yes. Insurance is your main source for money to put your life back in order after a disaster, but there are many things that insurance does not cover. This is where federal disaster programs may be able to help. You may find that you are "underinsured" and disaster assistance can help make up the difference.

* Do I have to wait for my insurance adjuster before I apply for disaster assistance?

No. You do not have to wait for an agent or adjuster's inspection before applying for assistance or beginning repairs needed tomake your house safe, sanitary and functional. However, if you have insurance, you should find out what your policy covers. Be sure to keep papers and receipts for any repair work. If you still have unmet disaster-related needs, call FEMA to apply. Initially, you may not be eligible for assistance until you are able to provide additional insurance settlement information. This is a necessary step to avoid a duplication of benefits.

* I already repaired my home. Is it too late to apply?

No. You could qualify for reimbursement of expenses not covered by your insurance.

* Do I need to make an appointment at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to register for assistance?

No. But you should register for assistance prior to visiting the DRC.There are two ways to register for assistance. After you have registered by phone or on-line you are encouraged to visit a Disaster Recovery Center for additional information or assistance. No appointment is necessary, and you may visit any DRC even if it is not located in your town or county. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) officials are also available to assist with low-interest disaster loan applications for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes. In addition, information is available about ways to reduce damage in future weather events.

* Are only low income residences qualified for disaster assistance?

No. Federal disaster assistance programs may be available to those who suffered damage, regardless of income. The programs are available to any eligible applicant and are not income based. The kinds of help provided depend on the applicant's circumstances and unmet disaster-related needs.

* Do I have to be turned down by my bank before I can apply for a disaster loan?

No. The SBA, which handles low-interest disaster loans, has its own criteria for determining each loan applicant's eligibility. The SBA will decide whether or not you are able to repay a loan. If you are not qualified for a loan, you may be eligible for other assistance. FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must complete and return them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

* Can I apply for a loan from the SBA even if I'm not a business owner?
Yes. Don't let the name fool you. Renters and homeowners may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans for home or personal property losses, based on the type and extent of "uninsured" or "underinsured" disaster-related losses. In a presidential declaration, SBA is the primary source of long-term financial assistance. The SBA offers disaster loans up to $200,000 to repair disaster-damaged primary residences. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to replace damaged personal property such as furniture, automobiles and clothing. Loans to businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations up to $1.5 million are available to repair or replace damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, supplies, and inventory. For information on SBA low-interest loans, residents and business owners in the eligible counties should call 1-800-659-2955 or visit the SBA Web site at www.sba.gov.

* I rent an apartment. Can I get help to replace my damaged property?

Yes. A renter also may qualify for an SBA low-interest disaster loan or a grant from other sources to replace personal property. One type of grant may cover temporary housing needs if a renter has to move to another dwelling. Another type of grant may be available to eligible individuals or families with serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other disaster-assistance programs.

* If I am an undocumented immigrant, am I eligible for any assistance?

Yes, you may be eligible under many different programs run by state and local agencies and voluntary agencies for various types of cash assistance. You will not be eligible personally for FEMA cash assistance programs (Individuals and Households Program Assistance). You may, however, apply on behalf of your U.S. citizen child, or another adult household member may qualify the household for assistance. Even if you or your family do not qualify for FEMA cash assistance (Individuals and Households Program Assistance), please call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for hearing- or speech-impaired for information and to be referred to other programs that can assist you regardless of your immigration status.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Modified: Friday, 08-Feb-2008 09:26:47
Release Date: February 8, 2008
Release Number: 1740-004
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=42506

Info Source/Changes:

Created At: Mon Feb 11 02:09:35 -0700 2008
Updated At: Tue Aug 30 01:31:45 -0700 2011
Updated By: tfri


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