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Oklahoma Tornado: Rumor Control

There is a lot of misinformation circulating on social networks regarding the response and recovery effort for the Oklahoma Tornado. Rumors spread fast: please tell a friend, share this page and help us provide accurate information about the types of assistance available.

Check here often for an on-going list of rumors and their true or false status.

Destroyed Homes

Rumor: Some media have been reporting 10,000 – 12,000 destroyed homes as a result of the tornado.
Fact: In reality, there are approximately 1,200 destroyed homes – closer to figures supported by registration numbers, American Red Cross data and geospatial reports.

FEMA Disaster Assistance

RUMOR: It takes a long time for disaster aid to reach survivors.
FACT: FEMA already has Individual Assistance specialists on the ground in Oklahoma. They will continue to process assistance for eligible survivors as applications are received.

RUMOR: I heard that if I receive FEMA assistance, it could reduce my social security benefit.
FACT: FEMA assistance will not affect your social security payments.

FEMA Registration

RUMOR: Survivors can’t register for FEMA assistance if they have insurance.
FACT: Survivors may be eligible for FEMA disaster aid for their uninsured and underinsured losses and damage.

RUMOR: When survivors register, they immediately qualify and receive payments from FEMA.
FACT:  After survivors register, their completed applications are reviewed, and an inspector may call to schedule an inspection at their home. If survivors are eligible for assistance, they should receive a U.S. Treasury/State check or notification of a direct deposit to their bank accounts. Other types of assistance may be provided later, based on specific eligibility and need.


RUMOR: Renters can’t get FEMA aid.
FACT: Renters whose homes were made unlivable by a disaster may be eligible for FEMA disaster grants, including rental assistance and other disaster-related needs. 

Small Business Administration

RUMOR: Only businesses can get low-interest disaster loans from SBA.
FACT: SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes (including landlords) and private nonprofit organizations for disaster damages not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.

FEMA Inspectors

RUMOR: It takes weeks before a FEMA housing inspector visits.
FACT: On this recovery operation, it is taking only two to three days for an inspector to call and schedule a property inspection.


RUMOR: Immigrants do not qualify for federal assistance.
FACT: It’s true that applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien to be eligible for FEMA grants. However, aid may be available if someone registers on behalf of a child in the home who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien. Assistance may be available from non-profit disaster relief organizations regardless of immigration status.

Debris Removal

RUMOR: The county will charge if you don't have debris removed in a week.
FACT: There is no truth to this.

Last Updated: 
07/08/2017 - 10:22