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Frequently Asked Questions: Federal Disaster Assistance

The Missouri federal disaster declaration covers survivors’ eligible losses caused by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding between April 28 and May 11, 2017 in these counties: Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney, and Texas.

Q: How do I apply for assistance from FEMA?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents of the 27 Missouri counties designated in the federal major disaster declaration to register with the agency without delay. Registration is easy:

  • Call 800-621-3362 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST. Multilingual registration assistance is available. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362. Those who use TTY may call 800-462-7585; MO Relay 800-735-2966; CapTel 877-242-2823; Speech to Speech 877-735-7877; VCO 800-735-0135. Multilingual operators will be available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
  • Go online to register at
  • Download the FEMA app for smartphones.


Q: What information will FEMA need when I apply?

It is helpful to have the following information handy:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the damaged primary residence or apartment
  • Description of damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • A current contact telephone number
  • An address where you can receive mail
  • Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds


Q: If I need help, where can I get it?


Q: What happens after I apply for assistance?

After you register, a FEMA-contracted inspector may call you to set up an appointment to assess your damaged property. Inspectors will never ask for bank account information, and there is no cost for the inspection.

When FEMA inspectors arrive at a home, they will display official photo identification. If the photo identification is not displayed, it is important to ask to see it.

Make sure your home or mailbox number is easily visible from the road. As part of the inspection process, you must provide proof of ownership or occupancy.

  • Homeowners may show a tax bill, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy with the property’s address.
  • Renters may show a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.
  • Homeowners and renters must also present a valid driver’s license or other photo ID.


Q: After the inspection, when will I hear from FEMA?

After registering for assistance, you will receive a letter – or, if you requested it, a text message or email – that will explain the status of your application and how to respond. If you requested communication via email or text, you can respond by logging into your account on or using the FEMA app. Or you can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

If you don’t follow up on the communication from FEMA, this might delay the assistance process.


Q: What should I do if FEMA says I’m ineligible for assistance?

The letter from FEMA will explain the status of your application and how to respond. It is important to read the letter carefully.

You may need to submit extra documents for FEMA to continue to process your application. Examples of missing documentation may include an insurance settlement letter, proof of residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property and proof that the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster.

If you have any questions about submitting insurance documents, proving occupancy or ownership, or anything else about the letter, you may call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. If you use 711 or Video Relay Services you may call 800-621-3362. If you use TTY you may call 800-462-7585; MO Relay 800-735-2966; CapTel 877-242-2823; Speech to Speech 877-735-7877; VCO 800-735-0135. Multilingual operators will be available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. You also may go online to


Q: How can I appeal FEMA’s decision?

All appeals must be filed in writing to FEMA. You should explain why you think the decision is incorrect. When submitting the letter, you should include:

  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Address of the damaged dwelling
  • FEMA registration number

In addition, the letter must either be notarized – if you choose this option, you should include a copy of a state-issued identification card – or include the following statement, “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.” The survivor must sign the letter.   

If someone other than the survivor or the co-applicant is writing the letter, there must be a signed statement affirming that the person may act on their behalf. The survivor should keep a copy of the appeal for their records.

Appeal letters must be postmarked or received by fax within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

            By mail:

            FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
            National Processing Service Center
            P.O. Box 10055
            Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

            By fax:
            Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program


Q: Why did the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) contact me?

If you are contacted by SBA regarding a low-interest disaster loan application, it is important to complete and submit the application as soon as possible. Returning the application does not obligate you to accept an SBA loan, but it is a necessary step to being considered for other forms of disaster assistance.  

  • SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.
  • SBA also offers low-interest working capital loans (called Economic Injury Disaster Loans) to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations having difficulty meeting obligations as a result of the disaster.
  • For more information, you may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s website at Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.


Q: I can't afford a loan, so why am I being asked to fill out an SBA loan application?

Homeowners and renters should apply to SBA, even if you are not sure if you will need or want a loan. If SBA cannot approve your application, in most cases SBA refers you to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program for possible grant assistance.


Q: What documents will FEMA need from my insurance company?

FEMA will want to see a settlement or denial letter from your insurance company to ensure there is no duplication of benefits. If your insurance company covers your losses, FEMA will not duplicate that coverage. If you still have unmet needs or damages that the insurance company does not cover, then FEMA may be able to provide you with assistance.


Q: What will FEMA accept as proof that I occupied my home?

FEMA accepts many documents as proof of occupancy, such as a utility bill from the gas, electric or water company; credit card bills or other first class mail sent to you and showing the damaged property as your address; a pay stub; or a current driver’s license.


Q: Do I have to sign anything to receive assistance?

As a condition of receiving assistance from FEMA, you or another adult member of your household will be asked to sign a statement confirming that you are a United States citizen, a non-citizen national, or qualified alien. If you or another adult member of your household cannot sign this statement, you may still receive assistance if you are the parent or legal guardian of a child in the household who is a United States citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien. For information concerning your right to apply, you may call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.


Q: I applied for disaster assistance two weeks ago and haven’t heard from anyone. What should I do?

Call 800-621-3362 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST. Or use the FEMA app for smartphones.


Q: Do I have to repay the money from FEMA?

Grants received through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program do not have to be repaid. Loans from SBA must be repaid.


Q: Why did my neighbor get more money than I did?

Each case is reviewed individually. If you disagree with any FEMA decision you have the right to appeal. Refer to your letter of eligibility for information on what FEMA will, and will not, cover and for appeal instructions, if needed.


Q: I didn't receive enough money to meet all my needs. What do I do now?

Missourians who still have critical unmet needs are encouraged to call United Way 211, which can provide access to other assistance provided by voluntary agencies, faith-based and other organizations. Those who have already called 2-1-1 for help still need to register separately with FEMA.

Most disaster assistance programs are intended to meet only essential needs and are not intended to cover all your losses.


Q: Will FEMA pay for my food loss?

No. Food loss is not covered by FEMA. Voluntary organizations in the disaster area may be able to help you with food needs.


Q: Will FEMA help me pay my utility bills?

No. FEMA is not authorized to make such payments. However, voluntary organizations may be able to help for a short period.


June 29,, 2017



Last Updated: 
07/08/2017 - 10:22