Common Misunderstandings May Cause Some to Miss Disaster Aid

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Release date: 
June 25, 2002
Release Number: 
1418-09

Indianapolis, IN -- Many residents of disaster-declared counties here in Indiana have made repairs or renovations in the aftermath of damages suffered in the storms and flooding that occurred from April 28 thru June 7. They now question whether their costs are reimbursable by disaster assistance. The surest way to find the answer to that and other questions that come up following a disaster is to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free at 800 621-3362.

In the confusion that often follows a disaster, half-truths and rumors about how they can find help may mislead disaster victims. "When you have suffered a loss, the last thing you need is misinformation," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. "The best way to avoid that problem is to call our toll-free registration number to learn for yourself just what kind of assistance may be available to you and how to access it."

Hoosiers who suffered damages and losses in the storms and flooding that occurred from April 28 thru June 7 should apply for assistance immediately by calling the FEMA toll-free number, 800 621-3362. (Those with a speech or hearing impairment can call TTY 800-462-7585.) Both lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Disaster victims who have already applied can call those same numbers for further information on disaster relief and recovery as well as to learn about the status of their applications.

Some common misconceptions about disaster assistance are:

I already repaired my home, so I can't get assistance.
Not True: You could qualify for reimbursement of expenses not covered by insurance. Be sure to save all receipts for work done or items replaced due to disaster damage or loss.

I have insurance. There is no other help available to me.
Not True: Insurance is your main source for funds to put your life back in order after a disaster. But there are many things that insurance does not cover. That is where federal disaster programs may be able to help. You may also be "underinsured" and disaster assistance can help make up the difference.

I have to wait for my insurance adjuster before I apply for disaster assistance.
Not True: You do not have to wait for an adjuster before applying for aid or making repairs needed to make your house livable. However, you should find out what your policy covers, and be sure to keep papers and receipts for any work.

I got help from the Red Cross, so now I can't get help from FEMA.
Not True: FEMA and the Indiana State Emergency Management Agency coordinate a number of programs to help disaster victims. These programs differ from the emergency food, clothing and shelter services initially provided by the Red Cross and other voluntary agencies.

I got help from the Red Cross, so I'm already registered with FEMA.
Not True: Registration with the American Red Cross is not the same as registration with FEMA. For federal disaster assistance, you must first apply by calling the FEMA toll-free registration line at 800 621-3362 (TTY 800 462-7585).

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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