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FEMA Helpline is Useful Tool for Disaster Survivors

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Release date: 
February 15, 2013
Release Number: 

WINDSOR, Conn. — Hurricane Sandy survivors who have registered for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have a useful tool at their fingertips: their phone.

Although the deadline has passed for hurricane survivors to register for assistance, survivors may check status of applications or receive other assistance by calling the FEMA Helpline, 800-621-3362. Helpline hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern, seven days a week. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available.

FEMA urges all applicants to stay in touch with FEMA, especially to keep contact information up to date. This can be done by phone or online at, or at on a smartphone or other web device.

Survivors creating a profile online may view application status or FEMA documents sent to them, but cannot submit new information other than contact data. However, via the Helpline, survivors may:

  • Update insurance information;
  • Receive information on the home inspection process;
  • Add or delete a person designated to speak for the applicant;
  • Find out if FEMA needs more information about the claim;
  • Learn how to appeal a FEMA application decision; and
  • Get answers to any other questions they might have about their application.


Insured applicants should not wait on FEMA to file an insurance claim. They should provide FEMA a copy of the insurance settlement as soon as it is available. FEMA does not duplicate insurance benefits, but applicants may discover their insurance does not cover as much as they thought it would and the settlement could prompt reconsideration for an applicant declared ineligible for assistance. The Helpline can provide answers to any question regarding insurance and its impact on FEMA assistance.

Any decision of FEMA can be appealed within 60 days of the determination. The Helpline can provide details on where to file a written appeal.

Applicants with questions regarding the U.S. Small Business Administration loan application may call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY users, call 800-877-8339). Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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.

Last Updated: 
February 21, 2013 - 11:39
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