TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance is always the first step in getting federal disaster aid, but after registering, applicants should use FEMA's Helpline to stay in touch so they can get the assistance they may be eligible for.
Step One - Apply Today
The first step toward getting disaster assistance is to register with FEMA by calling the Registration and Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired. Representatives are ready to help applicants through the FEMA application process from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. local time seven days a week. Multilingual specialists are available. Applicants can also apply online or check their application status at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Registration usually takes about 15-20 minutes. It helps speed the process for applicants to have key information on hand.
When applicants register with FEMA, they will need to provide a Social Security number, current mailing address and the address of the damaged property. They will also need to provide a brief description of the damages and any insurance information, including the policy number and the name of insurance agent, along with a telephone number where the applicant may be reached.
It's Important to Return the Loan Application
If applicants receive a U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application as part of the FEMA application packet, they are urged to take the time to complete and return it. This speeds up the process of getting the assistance to eligible applicants. Returning the application does not obligate the applicant to accept an SBA loan, but it is an important step to being considered for other forms of disaster assistance. SBA customer service representatives are on-site at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) to help answer questions about application forms and assist in their completion.
Step Two - Housing Inspections
A registered applicant will receive a unique identification number and will need that number for all FEMA contact. Usually within four days, a FEMA-contracted schedule an appointment to inspect the damaged property. There is no charge for this service, but it is ainspector will call the applicant to necessary step to determine eligibility. Inspectors carry official photo identification with their names and the words ?Under contract to FEMA? printed on their identifications. Residents should ask for this photo identification before allowing an inspector inside their home.
As part of the inspection process, the applicant must present a valid driver's license or other photo ID as well as one of the following as proof of ownership or occupancy:
- Homeowners may show a tax bill, deed, mortgage-payment or insurance policy with the property's address; or
- Renters may show a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.
Step Three - Receiving Assistance
The last step is for FEMA to issue disaster-assistance funds to eligible applicants. If the applicant has provided banking information to FEMA, the funds go directly into the proper bank account. This option makes the transfer of funds quicker and more secure.
For any help along the way - such as filling out the applications, general questions, or progress reports - call the FEMA Registration and Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585, or visit the nearest FEMA-state Disaster Recovery Center.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards...