SAN JUAN, PR -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues answering some of the most frequent questions made by disaster aid applicants regarding the registration process and disaster assistance programs.
1. Will FEMA replace everything that I lost?
No. The available federal programs are not intended to be a substitute for insurance. They exist to provide basic shelter and personal property needs. FEMA will not replace your damaged 52" color television. Vacation and secondary homes are not eligible for this assistance.
2. Where can I go and what can I do after my nearest Disaster Recovery Center closes? You can still receive FEMA assistance through the Help Line at 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585, or visit the website www.fema.gov
3. Do I have to be a legal U.S. resident to receive Individual Assistance from FEMA?
Yes. To be eligible for assistance from FEMA you must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien. A qualified alien generally includes individuals who are lawful permanent residents (possessing an alien registration receipt card) or those with legal status due to asylum, refugee, parole (admission into the U.S. for humanitarian purposes), withholding of deportation, or domestic violence. Check with an immigration expert if you have questions about your legal status.
4. Is there any FEMA assistance available for undocumented immigrants?
You may apply for Individual Assistance on behalf of your child who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien. Or another adult household member may qualify for household assistance if he or she is a documented immigrant. You may also be eligible under many different programs run by state and local agencies and voluntary agencies for various types of assistance. An undocumented immigrant may be eligible for short-term, non-cash emergency aid provided by FEMA.
5. I do not want an SBA loan. Why do I have to return the SBA application?
FEMA does not require that an applicant file for an SBA loan. However, an applicant must complete an SBA loan application to be eligible for assistance under the Other Needs Assistance program that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. An applicant may also be eligible for grants for transportation expenses, medical and dental, and funeral and burial expenses. FEMA processes temporary housing applications whether or not the applicant has applied for an SBA loan. Temporary housing assistance is not held up based on completing an SBA application.
6. What if I do not agree with the FEMA decision on my case?
The Helpline can be a first stop in appealing a FEMA decision.
7. Where can I notify that my contact information has changed?
Applicants should also call the Helpline to update their contact information after registering. If you move or change your phone number, please call the Helpline.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.