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Frequently Asked Questions About Disaster Assistance

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Release date: 
September 28, 2010
Release Number: 

NEW BERLIN, Wis. -- More than 16,000 residents of Grant and Milwaukee counties have applied for federal disaster aid since Sept. 18 when President Obama declared both counties eligible for Individual Assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) have identified some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help homeowners, renters and business owners in the disaster-declared counties understand the disaster assistance application process.     

I have insurance. Is there other help available to me?
Yes.  Disaster assistance can help with some loss that may not be covered by insurance.

Do I have to wait for my insurance adjuster before I apply for disaster assistance?
No.  Register as soon as possible. Find out what your insurance covers. Take pictures before beginning cleaning and repairing. Keep estimates and receipts. Ensure there is no duplication of benefits. If you do not have insurance, register immediately with FEMA.

Do I need to make an appointment at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to apply for assistance?
No.  Appointments are not necessary at FEMA DRCs.

May I visit the DRC when I have registered with FEMA?
Yes.  Representatives staff DRCs to provide information. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) experts explain low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations. Information about assistance from other federal, state and volunteer organizations is available. You may visit DRCs even if they are not located in your town or county.

I already repaired my home. Can I still apply?
.  Your repairs could be eligible for reimbursement. Take photos and save your receipts.

I reported damages. How do I know if I've applied for federal disaster assistance?
You will receive a FEMA registration number to verify that you have applied with FEMA.
Apply online today or call 1-800-621-FEMA/3362. Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available. You may also get information when you visit a Disaster Recovery Center.

When I registered with FEMA, I received an SBA disaster loan application, but I don't think I qualify for a loan. Should I fill it out anyway? 
Yes. In order to be considered for most types of FEMA's Other Needs Assistance grants, you must have been turned down for an SBA disaster loan. Those types include losses of personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
There are a few exceptions. FEMA assistance such as disaster-related public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require completion of an SBA disaster loan application. FEMA will process housing assistance applications regardless of whether the applicant has applied for an SBA disaster loan.

Are there special considerations for undocumented immigrants?
Yes.  You may be eligible under a program managed by a state or local agency or voluntary agency for various types of cash assistance. You may be eligible for Crisis Counseling or Disaster Legal Services and other short-term, non-cash emergency aid. But, you will not be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. You will not be personally eligible for FEMA financial assistance programs (Individuals and Households Program).

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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