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Misinformation Stops Survivors From Registering for FEMA Aid

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Release date: 
July 15, 2011
Release Number: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Some survivors of the recent Tennessee disasters have not registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance because of misconceptions or lack of accurate information. Here are some examples.

I didn't know there was assistance available.
FEMA tries to let everyone know about disaster assistance, but some people miss the message. Please be sure to spread the word among your co-workers, neighbors and friends.

I thought my income was too high for me to qualify.
There is no income test for FEMA aid. Anyone with disaster damage or loss may be eligible for help.

My insurance agent told me I wouldn't be able to get help from FEMA because I have insurance.
Everyone with insurance should register. FEMA may be able to help with uninsured costs.

I thought assistance would affect my Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid.
FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and it is not reportable as taxable income.

I thought it was too late for me to apply since I already cleaned up and made the repairs.
You may be eligible for reimbursement of your clean up and repair expenses.

I thought FEMA only made loans. I don't want a loan.
FEMA makes grants to help survivors recover. These are not loans and do not have to be repaid.

I'm a renter. I thought FEMA aid was only for homeowners to repair their homes.
FEMA makes grants to help renters recover if the disaster caused them to lose personal property.

I'm going to register just as soon as I can find the time to get all the paperwork done.
There is no paperwork to register with FEMA. You can do it with one phone call that takes about 30 minutes. Don't wait, because the deadline is Aug. 9.

I already received disaster assistance last year. I thought I couldn't get it again this year.
If you had damage from another federally declared disaster you may register for new assistance.

Other people need the help more than I do.
FEMA has enough funding to assist all eligible survivors. You will not be taking from others if you register for aid yourself.

To register for assistance call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, TTY 800-462-7585. By computer, go online to or by smartphone or tablet to

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.

FEMA's housing assistance and Other Needs Assistance grants for medical, dental, and funeral 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 considered for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.  Applicants who do not qualify for a SBA loan may be eligible to receive Other Needs Assistance grants for these items.

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.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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