Louisiana (DR-4611) Frequently Asked Questions and Rumor Control

We continue to work with federal, state, local, tribal and community partners to support the ongoing response for Ida. As clean up efforts begin, this page offers answers to frequently asked questions and rumors about Louisiana (DR-4611).

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Frequently Asked Questions and Rumors

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No. In most cases, FEMA grants do not have to be paid back.  If you have insurance that covers your temporary housing costs, but ask FEMA to advance you some money to help you pay for those costs while your insurance is delayed, you will need to pay that money back to FEMA after your receive your insurance settlement.

After applying, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for an SBA disaster assistance loan as part of the disaster assistance process.  

FEMA works with SBA to determine if you should get money for personal property or transportation assistance from FEMA or SBA. FEMA is not allowed to provide money for these losses to people who may qualify for an SBA loan.  

FEMA will automatically refer you to SBA to be considered for a disaster loan if you meet SBA’s income standards. FEMA will use your household annual gross income and number of dependents to determine if FEMA will refer you to the SBA. 

You don’t have to accept an SBA loan offer; however, if you are approved and you do not accept it, you will not be referred back to FEMA for personal property or transportation assistance. You can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 if you have additional questions or need more information.   

FEMA assistance is not taxable income and won’t affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or other federal benefits

If you were relocated or evacuated and don't know if your home was damaged, you can visit DisasterAssistance.gov to apply for assistance online. You can also choose to call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 to tell an agent about your current situation. If you use a video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service, or others, give FEMA your number for that service.

You can apply or update your information online at DisasterAssistance.gov, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, or through the FEMA mobile app.

If you use a video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service, or other communication services, give FEMA your number for that service.

FEMA may be able to provide Lodging Expense Reimbursement (LER)  for out-of-pocket lodging expenses, but only if these expenses are not covered through other means, such as insurance.

To be considered for LER, you must meet basic eligibility criteria for assistance and FEMA must verify that your home is unlivable, inaccessible, or affected by an extended disaster-caused utility outage. You must also submit verifiable documentation, such as receipts, of your lodging expenses.

By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits provided through insurance. Many insurance policies include Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or Loss of Use (LOU) coverage, which provides money to cover lodging costs when you are unable to live in your home due to a disaster. If your insurance does not include ALE or LOU, or if the money provided by your insurance does not cover all your lodging expenses, you can submit your insurance documentation to FEMA to be considered for Lodging Expense Reimbursement.

Let the inspector know you did not apply for assistance. If the inspector has left, call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 to tell them that you did not apply. FEMA will stop all further processing for the application. If you use a relay service, such as your videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, please provide your specific number assigned to that service. It is important that FEMA is able to contact you, and you should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.

Operators can also assist you if you wish to create a new application to apply for FEMA assistance.

A fraudulent FEMA application could be a sign of identity theft. For information on responding to identity theft, visit Identity Theft | FTC Consumer Information and IdentityTheft.gov.

Do not contact the FEMA Fraud Investigations and Inspections Division, DHS Office of Inspector General, or the National Center for Disaster Fraud for the purpose of reporting identity theft.

Louisiana renters who face eviction or have been evicted due to Hurricane Ida may be eligible for disaster assistance from FEMA. 

FEMA is also partnering with the Louisiana State Bar Association and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division to provide free legal aid to low-income individuals with disaster legal needs, such as help addressing evictions. Call the toll-free legal aid hotline at (800) 310-7029, or you can get legal advice online through Louisiana Free Legal Answers. 

Fact:

If SBA determines you are eligible for a loan, you do not have to accept it. However, if you do qualify for an SBA loan and you choose not to accept it, additional resources may not be available to you for disaster recovery.

Fact:

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.

Fact:

After you apply for disaster assistance from FEMA, you may be contacted by the SBA. If you are asked to submit an application for a low-interest SBA loan, you are encouraged to do so. Applying with the SBA assures that all available disaster assistance options remain open to you. 

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