NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Following a disaster, survivors sometimes hear inaccurate, incomplete or misleading information about disaster assistance. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency urge West Tennesseans affected by recent tornadoes, severe storms and flooding to get the facts now from TEMA and FEMA.
Counties newly eligible for federal assistance to individuals and households are Carroll, Crockett, Gibson, Hardin, Henry, Knox, Lauderdale, Lincoln, Madison, Montgomery and Tipton.
State and federal officials urge everyone in the affected counties with disaster losses to register with FEMA.
- By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT. Assistance is available in many languages. Those who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have a speech disability may use TTY 800-462-7585.
- By computer, go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- By smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov.
Here are some of the most common questions and misconceptions about assistance, with answers from TEMA and FEMA:
Do I need to go to a Disaster Recovery Center to register for state/FEMA assistance?
You may, but you are encouraged to register online or by calling FEMA directly. At the recovery center, you can obtain additional services, get help with your registration and answers to specific questions, and check on the status of your registration. No money or checks are distributed at DRCs.
I reported my damages to my county emergency manager and/or to the Red Cross or other agency. Does that mean I’m registered with FEMA?
No. The only way to register with FEMA is online or by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration number.
I received FEMA assistance after storms last year. Can I receive more assistance this year?
If you have damages from the recent storms, you may be eligible for new assistance.
There are people who need the help more than I do, so I’m not going to register.
You are not depriving anyone else of help by registering yourself. FEMA has sufficient funding to cover all eligible losses.
I have insurance. Should I still register for aid?
FEMA may be able to help you with disaster-related costs that your insurance does not cover. The only way to be eligible is to register with FEMA.
Representatives from TEMA and FEMA already looked at my property and asked me questions. Doesn’t that mean I’m registered?
You may have seen representatives of local, state or federal agencies during damage assessments. The only ways to register for assistance from FEMA are online, by calling FEMA, or by visiting a DRC.
I’d like to apply for help from FEMA but I’m afraid it will affect my Social Security or other government benefits.
FEMA grants do not affect eligibility for any other benefit program or the amounts received from other programs. The grants are not reported to the IRS as income.
For information about U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations, call 800-659-2955. The TTY number is 800-877-8339. Online, go to www.sba.gov