This holiday season, as Louisiana homeowners and renters continue to receive disaster funds, FEMA wants to remind you that federal grant money may only be used for disaster-related expenses.
Receiving Grant Money
Once an application is complete, it only takes FEMA a few days to deposit the money into the bank account you provided. It will appear in your account under a banking code that may not say the word FEMA. You will also receive a letter or email telling you the amount you are receiving and explaining how you can spend the money.
Spend Grants Wisely
Disaster grants are not for regular living expenses. Some examples of allowed expenses include:
- Home repairs (e.g., structure, water, septic and sewage systems)
- Rental assistance for rent and/or deposit
- Repair or replacement of an essential vehicle
- Medical or dental care for an uninsured injury caused by the disaster
- Necessary educational materials (e.g., computers, schoolbooks, supplies)
- Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster
- Replacement of essential personal property such as appliances or a bed from an occupied bedroom
- Increased childcare expenses
Risks of Not Using Money as Intended
Read your determination letter carefully. You will need to keep receipts for all expenses for at least three years, as disaster funding may be subject to review. If you have spent the payment on anything other than its intended purpose, you may be denied disaster assistance in the future. In some cases, FEMA will ask that the money be returned.
Keep in touch with FEMA
Be sure FEMA has your most up-to-date contact information, including addresses, phone numbers and bank accounts. If FEMA does not have the correct contact information, survivors may miss letters or phone calls about their application for assistance or payment status.
For any questions, call the FEMA Helpline, 800-621-3362. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.