Be Careful Using Disaster Checks

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Release date: 
October 13, 1999
Release Number: 
1297-26

NEW CASTLE, Del. -- If you receive a check for damages or losses sustained by Hurricane Floyd, use care in determining how the check is spent.

Steven Adukaitis, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), advises individuals to keep receipts to show how federal funds were spent because FEMA may conduct random audits at any time during the next three years.

Some recipients of checks may be unclear about how the check is to be used. A letter of explanation follows or precedes the issuance of all checks.

Checks may come from one of three sources:

  • If you receive a check from the U. S. Treasury, it is from FEMA for disaster housing. The check is intended for only one of two uses: either for repairs, or for rent. A housing check for repairs is not intended to restore a damaged home to its pre-disaster condition; rather, FEMA funding is intended to return the home to a safe and habitable condition. A check for temporary rental assistance is based on the fair market rates in your area to rent a place for your pre-disaster household to live. Applicants who must remain in temporary housing for a longer period than the check covers may request more assistance until their home can be re-occupied or other permanent housing arrangements can be made.

  • If you receive a check from the state, it is for the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program, which is a federal/state cost-shared program whose purpose is to provide funds for the necessary expenses and serious needs of disaster victims that cannot be met through other forms of disaster assistance or through other means such as insurance.

  • If you receive a check from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), it is a low-interest loan made by the SBA for home repairs, business losses or economic injury.

"It's very important that people read their eligibility letters carefully," said Vince Sakovich, state coordinating officer with Delaware Emergency Management Agency. "It gives them detailed information regarding their assistance."

Those who still have questions or require additional assistance may call the toll-free FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY 1-800-462-7585).

People affected by Hurricane Floyd who have not registered for assistance may call 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585).

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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