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FEMA Assistance: Spend It Wisely

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Release date: 
April 1, 2012
Release Number: 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Tennessee residents who, as a result of the Feb. 29 ? March 2 tornadoes, receive disaster grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are urged to spend their funds wisely.?

Survivors who applied for disaster assistance with FEMA will receive letters about where they are in the application process, what to do next or how they should spend grant money.

Applicants should onlyuse their grants to meet specific disaster-related needs.

Most disaster grants from FEMA are deposited electronically, followed by a letter explaining how the money should be spent.

Housing Assistance grants are intended for basic housing repairs, such as replacing doors and windows or repairing a roof. Housing Assistance grants may also be used for short-term rent payments or reimbursement of hotel/motel expenses.

Other Needs Assistance grants are intended to help replace essential personal property and meet disaster-related medical, dental and funeral expenses. The money may also be used to help repair or replace a car damaged by the disaster and to replace work-related tools.

FEMA grants shouldn't be used for luxury goods such as flat-screen televisions, video games or other entertainment electronics. Grants may be audited, so survivors should keep receipts for three years to document disaster-related expenses.

If grant money is not used as outlined in the letter, a recipient may have to pay it back and may lose eligibility for any further help.

The first step toward obtaining recovery assistance is to register with FEMA:

  • By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. Assistance is available in many languages. Those who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have a speech disability and use TTY may call 800-462-7585.
  • By computer visit
  • By smartphone or tablet, use

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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