Misconceptions May Hinder Survivor Recovery

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Release date: 
June 18, 2014
Release Number: 
NR 044

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Some survivors of the recent Alabama storms may not have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance because of misconceptions or lack of accurate information. Here are some examples:

I didn't know there was assistance available.
FEMA tries to let everyone know about disaster assistance, but some people miss the message. Please be sure to spread the word among your co-workers, neighbors and friends.

I thought my income was too high for me to qualify.
FEMA provides housing grants and other programs such as help with medical, dental and funeral expenses that are not income dependent. Anyone in a designated county with disaster damage or loss may be eligible for help.

My insurance agent told me I wouldn't be able to get help from FEMA, because I have insurance.
Everyone with insurance should register. FEMA may be able to help with uninsured or underinsured costs.

I thought assistance would affect my Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid.
FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and it is not reportable as taxable income.

I thought it was too late for me to apply since I already cleaned up and made the repairs.
You may be eligible for reimbursement of your clean up and repair expenses.

I thought FEMA only made loans. I don't want a loan.
FEMA does not make loans, only grants to help survivors recover. These are not loans and do not have to be repaid.   The United States Small Business Administration does make loans to cover disaster damage to uninsured or under insured property for homeowners, renters and business owners.

I'm a renter. I thought FEMA assistance was only for homeowners to repair their homes.
FEMA makes grants to help renters with temporary housing and help with disaster-related losses of personal property.

I'm going to register just as soon as I can find the time to get all the paperwork done.
There is no paperwork to register with FEMA. You can do it with one phone call that takes about 20 minutes. Don't wait, because the deadline is July 1.

I already received disaster assistance last year. I thought I couldn't get it again this year.
If you had damage from a previous federally declared disaster and you had damage from this declared disaster, you may register for new assistance.

Other people need the help more than I do.
FEMA has enough funding to assist all eligible survivors. You will not be taking from others, if you register for aid.

Residents of Baldwin, Blount, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Lee, Limestone, Mobile or Tuscaloosa counties who suffered storm damage during the period April 28 through May 5 should apply for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov, via smartphone at m.fema.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585.  Multilingual operators are available. The deadline to register for FEMA assistance is July 1, 2014.

Last Updated: 
June 18, 2014 - 09:44
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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