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Use Disaster Grants Wisely

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Release date: 
March 14, 2013
Release Number: 

TRENTON, N.J. -- Disaster recovery officials urge recipients of federal grants to use the money wisely.

Upon releasing the funds by direct deposit or check, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent every recipient a letter providing important information about the grant and outlining how the money can be spent.

Disaster-related grants are for repairs, temporary housing and other approved disaster-related costs. New Jerseyans who have questions about their grants should call FEMA’s Helpline at  800-621-FEMA (3362).

Housing funds may be used for:

  • Repairs to return a home to a safe and functional condition – may include repairs to windows, doors, water and ventilation systems, or other structural parts of a home
  •  Replacement or rebuilding of a disaster-damaged home
  •  Reimbursement for lodging expenses directly related to the disaster – receipts for these expenses will be requested if the house sustained damages.
  • Rental assistance – applicants who must remain in temporary housing for a longer period than the initial assistance grant covers may request more assistance until their home can be occupied or other permanent housing arrangements can be made. Disaster-related grant recipients also must turn in proper receipts to receive further assistance.

Recipients of Other Needs Assistance may use the funds for:

  • Personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items, appliances and vehicle repair or replacement
  • Medical, dental and funeral expenses and moving expenses

Disaster-related grant recipients are required to sign a declaration and a release certifying that all funds will be spent on the expenses for which they are intended.

Applicants also should be sure to update their address and phone number information by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or update your information online at Assistance is available in many languages. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call 800-621-3362.

If FEMA does not have the correct contact information, applicants may miss important letters or phone calls about their applications for assistance or payment status.

By law, FEMA grants, which are taxpayer dollars, cannot duplicate payments from other sources. For example, if a grant recipient receives an insurance settlement covering expenses already paid for by FEMA, those duplicated funds must be reimbursed to FEMA.

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.

Follow FEMA online at,,, and Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Last Updated: 
March 20, 2013 - 13:47
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