LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants everyone who experienced property damage or losses from the May storms to register with FEMA for assistance. Even if you have reported damage to your local emergency management officials, the American Red Cross, or another voluntary agency you also must complete the FEMA registration process to be considered for federal assistance.
Disaster assistance may include help with temporary housing, emergency home repairs or other serious disaster-related expenses, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs not covered by insurance or other sources. Also, homeowners, renters, business owners and nonprofit organizations may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
FEMA also may provide referrals to volunteer agencies, crisis counseling, legal services, and/or state disaster unemployment assistance.
You should register with FEMA even if you have insurance or believe you won’t qualify for assistance. It’s easy to register. Here are three basic steps.
Step One: Registration
Register online anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. Disaster assistance specialists are available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT. Before you register you should:
- Contact your insurance agent or company.
- Collect the following information: your Social Security number, your current mailing address, the address of the damaged property, a brief description of the damages and any insurance information, including the policy number and the name of your agent, and a phone number where you can be reached.
- If you receive an SBA loan application, fill it out and return it promptly. Returning the application does not obligate you to accept an SBA loan, but you must fill it out to be considered for other forms of disaster assistance.
Step Two: Inspections
After you register, a FEMA-contracted inspector will call you to set up an appointment to inspect your property. There is no charge for this service.
Make sure your home or mailbox number is easily visible from the road. As part of the inspection process, you must provide proof of ownership or occupancy:
- Homeowners may use a tax bill, deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy with the property’s address.
- Renters may use a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.
- Homeowners and renters must also provide a valid driver’s license or other photo ID.
Step Three: Keep in Touch
One of the most common reasons applicants fail to receive assistance is FEMA’s inability to contact them after they apply. It’s essential that you tell FEMA of any change to your telephone number and/or mailing address. Call the FEMA Helpline or visit the disaster assistance Web site.
A Helpful Step: Disaster Recovery Centers
FEMA encourages you to visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area if you need help filling out the applications, have general questions or need progress reports. You can also call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585. Help is available in many languages.
Receiving FEMA Assistance
If your application has been approved, FEMA will issue funds under the Individual and Households Program. If you have provided banking information to FEMA, the funds will be de...