Rumors vs. Facts on FEMA Disaster Assistance for Wildfire Survivors

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Release date: 
September 23, 2011
Release Number: 
  • RUMOR: There's no easy way to get true, reliable info about FEMA's disaster aid programs.
    Straight answers and plain facts are available from the disaster aid program experts on FEMA's Help Line. Call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA); TTY 1-800-462-7585 to learn about aid programs and to register for disaster aid. You can talk with multilingual experts every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • RUMOR: It's hard to register for FEMA disaster assistance.
    There are three ways to register for disaster assistance. Call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA); TTY 1-800-462-7585; online, visit or go to via web-enabled phone. Texans who live in Bastrop, Cass, Colorado, Gregg, Grimes, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Travis, Waller, Walker and Williamson counties are urged to register for FEMA assistance as soon as possible.
  • RUMOR: It takes a long time for disaster aid to reach survivors.
    Just 12 days after the president issued a major disaster declaration for wildfires in Bastrop County, more than $5 million in FEMA disaster grants is headed to eligible survivors -- and more is expected. Since the declaration, 12 more counties have been added.
  • RUMOR: Survivors can't register for FEMA assistance if they have insurance.
    Survivors may be eligible for FEMA disaster aid for their uninsured and underinsured losses and damage.
  • RUMOR: Renters can't get FEMA aid.
    Renters whose homes were made unlivable by a disaster may be eligible for FEMA disaster grants, including rental assistance and other disaster-related needs.
  • RUMOR: FEMA is handing out hotel vouchers for people evacuated because of the wildfires.
    FEMA does not offer hotel vouchers to survivors; FEMA offers a temporary housing program where it pays hotels that are housing people displaced from their homes by the disaster.
  • RUMOR: It takes weeks before a FEMA inspector visits.
    On this recovery operation, it is taking only two to three days for an inspector to call and schedule a property inspection.
  • RUMOR: Only businesses can get low-interest disaster loans from SBA.
    FACT :
    SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes (including landlords) and private nonprofit organizations for disaster damages not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.
  • RUMOR: Immigrants do not qualify for federal assistance.
    It's true that applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien to be eligible for FEMA grants. However, aid may be available if someone registers on behalf of a child in the home who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.

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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