Myth vs. Fact About Registering for FEMA Aid

Main Content
Release date: 
October 5, 2011
Release Number: 

NEPTUNE, N.J. – Rumors about who should register for federal assistance may cause confusion for New Jersey survivors affected by Hurricane Irene. FEMA provides answers to common misconceptions.

MYTH: I've already cleaned up and made the repairs. Isn’t it too late to register?
FACT: You may be eligible for reimbursement of your clean up and repair expenses.

MYTH: I'm a renter. I thought FEMA aid was only for homeowners to repair their homes.
FACT: FEMA may provide assistance to help renters who lost personal property or were displaced.

MYTH: I thought FEMA only gave loans. I don't want a loan.
FACT: FEMA may provide grants, which cover expenses for temporary housing, home repairs, replacement of damaged personal property and other disaster-related needs such as medical, dental or transportation costs not covered by insurance or other programs. They don’t have to be repaid.

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest loans to renters, homeowners and businesses of all sizes. Some applicants may receive an SBA loan application after registering with FEMA. No one is obligated to take out a loan, but if they don’t complete the application they may not be considered for other federal grant programs.

MYTH: FEMA assistance will affect my Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid.
FACT: FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and is not considered taxable income.

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

MYTH: I heard registration is too much red tape and paperwork.
FACT: There is no paperwork to register with FEMA. You can do it by calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Those with access or functional needs can call 800-462-7585, or 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service. Registration may also be done online at or The website helps reduce the number of forms to be filled out and shortens the time it takes to register.

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

MYTH: I thought my income was too high for me to qualify.
FACT: Income is not a consideration for FEMA assistance. FEMA grants may cover uninsured losses.

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

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
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
Related Disaster: 
Back to Top