This is the third ASK FEMA column from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for anyone who has questions and needs answers about federal disaster assistance programs. These questions are selected from a list of frequently asked questions that FEMA receives at our Helpline, Disaster Recovery Centers and website (www.fema.gov). For a complete listing of frequently asked questions, please visit www.fema.gov. Throughout the next few months we will try to cover all the topics of disaster recovery.
Will FEMA pay for moving and storage expenses?
Costs of moving and storage may be covered, if these costs are directly related to the disaster. You should apply and submit your receipts to see if the cost is covered.
I received my check for rental assistance, but there are no places to rent.
If you are unable to locate a place to rent you can call FEMA's Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to get the list of rental resources in your area.
Will FEMA help me pay my utility bills?
No, FEMA cannot pay utility bills. However, local charitable organizations may be able to help for a short period. You should contact the American Red Cross or your local United Way office for a referral to a local agency that may be able to help.
Does disaster help have to be repaid?
A grant from the Individual and Households Program does not have to be repaid. Loans from the Small Business Administration must be repaid.
Do you care that my neighbor is using his FEMA money to go on vacation?
If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of federal disaster help, call the FEMA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-323-8603.
FEMA told me to either mail or fax in my receipts, what is the mailing address and fax number?
Please write your name and application number on everything you send to us. Also, keep a copy for your own records.
Mail: FEMA - Individual and Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE:
Call toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (individuals with hearing/speech impairments only - TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or, to register online, visit our website at www.fema.gov. Click on "Register for Disaster Assistance Online" and the screens will prompt you through the 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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.