Common Disaster-Related Rumors

There often are many rumors and scams after a disaster. Do your part to the stop the spread of rumors by doing three easy things: 

  1. Find trusted sources of information. 
  2. Share information from trusted sources. 
  3. Discourage others from sharing information from unverified sources. 


Use the dropdown menu to filter by the type of question or type in a keyword.


This is false. FEMA is not paying people weekly to assist with cleanup.

However, during some disasters FEMA may provide a one-time grant to individuals to help them clean up their home. To find out if you qualify, apply on


This is not true. Renters may apply for disaster assistance with FEMA.

FEMA may be able to provide pre-disaster renters with money to help pay for short-term lodging expenses, costs for renting temporary housing, and the costs of replacing or repairing a vehicle and other necessary personal property.  FEMA may also be able to help pay for uninsured medical, dental, childcare, moving and storage expenses.

If Direct Housing Assistance is authorized for the disaster, pre-disaster renters may be eligible for Direct Temporary Housing Assistance if they are unable to use financial assistance to secure temporary housing.


This is not true. If you have insurance, you can apply for FEMA assistance but you must file an insurance claim as well. FEMA cannot help with expenses your insurance might cover until you send us your insurance settlement or denial, but FEMA may able to assist with other losses insurance won’t cover. If insurance does not cover the entire cost of disaster-related expenses and your settlement was less than the maximum amount of money FEMA can provide for that loss, you may be eligible for FEMA assistance.

Visit the FAQ page for more information.


Generally, FEMA provides all eligible assistance to one application to assist all members of the pre-disaster household. However, FEMA will evaluate the unique needs of eligible survivors to include households that may be separated due to the disaster, households made up of roommates, or when there is a financial relationship between an owner living in a home with boarders or renters.


You are not able to request hotel room payment assistance from FEMA by calling any number.

However, FEMA may reimburse lodging expenses to eligible individuals and families. To see if this assistance is available to you, apply at


This is not true. In most cases, FEMA grants do not have to be paid back.  If you have insurance that covers your temporary housing costs, but you 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 you receive your insurance settlement.

FEMA partners with other agencies to help meet the needs of disaster survivors. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters in a declared major disaster area.

If you still have unmet needs, loans may help with home repair or replacement, personal property, vehicles, mitigation, business losses, and working capital for small business and most private nonprofits. Learn more about SBA disaster loans. You can also call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 if you have additional questions or need more information.


This is not true. Homeowner insurance policies do not normally cover flood damage. Flood insurance is typically a separate policy.

Visit the National Flood Insurance Program page to purchase flood insurance or find out more.


This is not true. Your timeline can vary because requests are manually reviewed. For example, in larger scale disasters with many applicants, reimbursement of receipts may take longer.


This is not true. Every applicant has the right to appeal. An appeal is your chance to tell FEMA why you don’t agree with the decision the agency made. You may send new or additional information and ask FEMA to change its decision. You must mail or submit your signed appeal letter within 60 days of receiving your decision letter.


This is not true. A flood insurance policy covers you during different flood events. FEMA disaster assistance is only available when a federal disaster is declared by the president.  Additionally, grants provided by FEMA are not always enough to cover all losses.

Visit the National Flood Insurance Program page for more information.

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