BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Everyone receives a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after applying for disaster assistance. It explains where you are in the process and what to do next or how grant money should be spent.
If you have questions about any letter from FEMA, you should call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY at 800-462-7585) or visit a disaster recovery center. You can use the same phone number to find the nearest center. You can also locate a center with your smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov or online at www.fema.gov/drclocator.
If your letter says you are ineligible, it will provide what steps are necessary to resolve your status. For help, you can call FEMA’s helpline or go to a center and speak face-to-face with a recovery specialist.
FEMA looks at a number of things to determine if a survivor can receive disaster assistance. But the agency must be able to:
- Verify an applicant’s identity. If you’ve lost your ID during the storm, visit a disaster recovery center. The staff there can make referrals regarding replacement documents.
- Verify damages. If you believe the inspector didn’t see all of your damages, call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or visit a disaster recovery center.
- Verify home occupancy. Applicants need to provide proof of occupancy such as a utility bill. You can bring the bill to a disaster recovery center, where recovery specialists will help you.
You may also receive a letter from FEMA about your eligibility if you missed an appointment with an inspector or failed to return paperwork to the Small Business Administration.
That’s why it is so important to give good contact information – such as a cellphone or work number – and stay in touch with FEMA.
If you receive a disaster loan application from the SBA, you must complete and return it in order to be referred to other FEMA programs. You are not required to accept the loan. But returning the application is part of the assistance process.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.