FEMA Answers Frequently Asked Questions For Disaster Victims

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Release date: 
April 5, 2001
Release Number: 
1361-45

Olympia, WA -- The most frequent questions asked by residents impacted by the Nisqually Earthquake are as follows:

Q: How do I register for FEMA assistance?

A: Call the toll-free number at 1-800-462-9029 (TTY:1-800-462-7585). Residents and business owners in the declared counties have until April 30, 2001 to register for federal and state disaster assistance.

Q: If I have questions regarding my FEMA application or need to make a change to the application, what should I do?

A: Applicants may call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY: 1-800-660-8005) to check the status of their application or update with new information.

Q: Will I get FEMA disaster assistance if I have insurance?

A: FEMA can include those costs not covered by homeowner earthquake insurance. Disaster assistance may also cover costs below the homeowner's deductible.

Q: What is FEMA disaster assistance?

A: FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs to make a home safe, sanitary and secure. It does not compensate individuals for their entire loss or duplicate assistance provided under private insurance.

Q: What other assistance is available for my losses that FEMA will not cover?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes to repair earthquake damage that is not fully covered by insurance or other recovery programs. SBA is the primary source of money to repair earthquake damage.

Q: How may I use the housing assistance check?

A: Applicants will receive a letter explaining how to use the money. The letter is mailed separately from the check. The funds are for housing needs. Applicants who have questions on how to use the money may call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY: 1-800-660-8005).

Q: What if I have questions regarding chimney damage?

A: FEMA's mitigation experts have established a toll-free number that people may call to get advice on chimney repairs and strengthening homes, securing contents and rebuilding stronger and better. The toll-free number is 1-800-838-7046 and the lines are open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Q: Does FEMA repair damaged chimneys caused by the Nisqually Earthquake?

A: FEMA provides funds for essential repairs for one damaged chimney per eligible residence. The minimal repair funds cover payment for a flue and a box. Funds may be made available from FEMA for removing any additional chimneys that pose a safety hazard.

SBA also may provide long-term, low-interest loans for chimney-related repair costs not covered by FEMA.

Q: What happens if I cannot afford a loan to repair damaged property?

A: If the SBA determines that a homeowner or renter cannot afford a loan, SBA can refer them to the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) Program. The IFG Program is a safety net available only to individuals and families, not businesses. IFG provides grants intended to help individuals meet essential needs not met by any other forms of assistance, including insurance. If you were provided an SBA loan packet, you must fill it out and return it to SBA before you can be referred to IFG.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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