WINDSOR, Conn. — Registering for FEMA disaster assistance won’t take money away from another disaster survivor, federal officials said today.
Federal Emergency Management Agency grants are available to all who qualify for them. But many Connecticut residents who suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy haven’t registered. Reasons vary, but some people mistakenly believe that accepting help somehow reduces the amount of money available to qualified registrants.
The truth is, not registering could slow recovery of the community because federal dollars infuse money into the local economy when disaster survivors hire contractors, buy supplies and replace damaged property.
“People who are approved for assistance to repair their homes and replace damaged property put their assistance grant money into the local economy,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Albert Lewis. “We know this helps the whole community’s economic recovery.”
Finding out if the damage to your property qualifies your household for federal help is simple.
First, the damage must have happened in a county that has been declared eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance. In Connecticut, these are Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven and New London counties, and the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan Tribal Nations located within New London County.
Second, survivors can register online anytime day or night at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or with a smartphone or other Web-enabled device at m.fema.gov. Survivors can also register anytime by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Wait for the English message to finish to reach multilingual operators.
Registering for disaster assistance with other agencies or organizations does not register survivors for FEMA disaster assistance. Having FEMA flood insurance does not register policyholders for disaster assistance; flood insurance claims are handled separately.
It is important to note that you may be eligible for disaster assistance even if you have insurance. If insurance does not meet all your needs, FEMA assistance may be able to help with the difference.
FEMA's Individuals and Households Program has two types of assistance, “Housing Needs” and “Other Needs Assistance,” which may be available to individuals and families whose property has uninsured or underinsured damage from the storm.
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 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
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.