PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Disaster assistance is now available for Rhode Islanders in all five counties who suffered losses related to severe storms and flooding beginning on March 12 and continuing. Disaster officials with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge people with uninsured or underinsured losses to register for help as soon as possible.
How do I apply for disaster assistance?
People can register online at www.FEMA.gov or call FEMA's toll free registration number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. (EDT) seven days a week. It will take about 15 minutes to complete the process.
Before applicants call or go online, they should gather the following basic information to speed up the process:
- Social Security number
- Telephone number where he or she can be reached
- Address of the damaged property
- Current mailing address
- Brief description of disaster-related damages and losses
- Insurance information
- Direct deposit information to help speed delivery of funds
Is there any cost associated with registering for disaster assistance?
No. There are no costs related to registering for or receiving federal disaster assistance.
What types of assistance may be provided?
Some of the types of assistance that may be available to eligible applicants through FEMA's Individuals and Households Program are:
- Temporary Housing – rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable
- Repair - grants to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary and habitable.
- Other Needs Assistance (ONA) - grants for necessary 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 a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan before receiving this type of assistance.
Why is completing the SBA application important?
Completing and returning an SBA application is an essential part of the recovery process. If an applicant is found ineligible for an SBA loan, he or she may be referred for ONA or to other disaster services agencies. People may get information by calling SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, 800-877-8339 for the speech- or hearing-impaired, by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.sba.gov.
What assistance can an applicant expect to receive?
FEMA disaster assistance is to help them get safe and sanitary housing and meet other critical needs so they can begin their long-term recovery. Assistance is not automatic, but is calculated based on the losses of each individual or household that files and qualifies.
What if someone has insurance?
Renters or homeowners who suffered any damage or loss should apply for assistance; there is no need to wait for an insurance inspection. When an insurance inspection is conducted, remember insurance coverage may not be adequate and some foundation damage may not show up until later. If an insurance settlement is delayed, call FEMA. Also call FEMA if the settlement does not cover losses or if the additional living expense benefit is exhausted. Remember, failure to file with a...