Apply For Disaster Assistance

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Release date: 
September 29, 2009
Release Number: 

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Recent floods were very disruptive, creating challenges for flood survivors that will continue long after the initial cleanup. The first step to recovery is only a phone call or click away.

Register For Assistance  

If you have insurance, you should contact your insurance agent first. Knowing the amount of coverage your policy provides will help FEMA assist with unmet and underinsured needs. Next, call the FEMA toll-free registration number 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY at 800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired or register online at Registration normally takes less than half an hour.

FEMA disaster assistance will not restore individuals and households to their pre-disaster condition.  It helps get safe and sanitary housing and meet other critical needs so flood survivors begin their long-term recovery.  If a loss is covered by another source, such as insurance, or is taken care of by a volunteer group, donation or gift, FEMA cannot pay for that cost again. Duplicate payments are prohibited by law.


Temporary Housing - Rental assistance for two months for those whose homes are unlivable.

Repair - Homeowners may receive a grant for minimal home repairs and replacement of essential household items that are not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.

Other Needs Assistance (ONA) - applicants receive grants for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage, and other expenses that FEMA approves. The homeowner may need to apply for an SBA loan before receiving this grant.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan - After registering, many applicants, including homeowners, renters and businesses, will receive an SBA loan application in the mail. If you receive one, you are strongly urged to complete and return the application to keep the door open for other types of assistance. If a home loan is not appropriate, you may be referred to the state/FEMA Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grant program-but SBA must decline your loan application first. You are not obligated to take an SBA loan if approved, but if the loan is offered and refused, there is no referral to ONA.

FEMA assistance, also referred to as a grant, does not have to be repaid. SBA federal disaster loans used to repair or replace damaged or destroyed property are offered at low-interest rates to those who qualify.

Other Forms of Assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance -Workers in 17 counties may be eligible for Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to compensate for loss of income directly related to the September storms and flooding. Unlike state unemployment insurance, DUA provides benefits to self-employed business people, farmers, commission-paid employees, and others not typically covered by the state unemployment insurance program. People who think they may be eligible for benefits should call the Georgia Department of Labor toll-free customer service line at 877-709-8185 or visit to be directed to the nearest career center.

Disaster Legal Services - People in those same counties may also qualify for free legal help for disaster-related issues such as landlord-tenant disputes, insurance claims, unemployment benefits, consumer law and housing law. The servic...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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