SAN JUAN, P.R. -- Disaster officials have noted the most frequent questions by residents affected by the rains, floods and landslides which occurred November 10-23, 2003 and who want information about assistance programs or the status of their application. The most common questions from residents are as followed:
Q: If an applicant has questions regarding their application or needs to make a change to the application, what should they do?
A: Applicants may call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-9585, for persons with speech or hearing problems) or visit the nearest Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to check the status of their application or update any new information.
Q: After the FEMA inspection, what should the applicant do if he/she does not receive by mail an official resolution on the application?
A. From 5 to 7 days after the inspection, FEMA will send an official letter with the determination made on the application. If the letter is not received, the applicant should call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-9585) to verify if any correspondence was sent and if the postal address is correct. Moreover, the applicant should visit the US Postal Office that services his/her community. The US Postal Service offices, generally, retains most of the undeliverable FEMA correspondence for some time.
Q: How may an applicant use the assistance check?
A: After the assistance check is mailed, the applicant will receive separately a letter explaining how to use the money. The applicant should not use the check without reading the letter since the funds are designated for the approved needs. Applicants who have questions on how to use the money may call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-9585) or visit the nearest DRC.
Q: If an applicant does not agree with the results of the inspection and/or the monetary award granted for assistance, what is the recourse of the applicant?
A: The applicant can appeal any decision made by FEMA. Appeal procedures are outlined in the letter from FEMA that explains the approval or denial of disaster assistance. The applicant may also call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-9585) for more information on the appeal process.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.