Use FEMA Grants for Intended Purpose

Release Date:
April 4, 2024

FEMA reminds Rhode Island residents who receive federal disaster assistance in the designated counties of Kent, Providence and Washington for the severe storms and flooding that took place December 17-19, 2023, and January 9-13, 2024 to use the money for its intended purpose and to keep receipts for three years.

A letter explaining the purpose of assistance provided will arrive shortly after you receive the check or direct deposit payment, either in the mail or through your online account. FEMA assistance is intended to help applicants pay for temporary housing if they are unable to live in their home due to disaster damage and for home repairs, or replacement of damaged or lost personal property. 

If you haven’t received your letter, or don’t understand it, you can get clarification from the help line at 800-621-3362.

If applicants spend the payment on anything other than its intended purpose, they may be ineligible for future disaster assistance. In some cases, FEMA may ask that the funds be returned.

Those receiving assistance are urged to keep receipts for their disaster spending for three years to document that the money was used to meet disaster-related expenses. If you receive an insurance settlement to cover the same expenses, you must reimburse FEMA. Audits are conducted to confirm funds were spent properly.

There are several ways to apply for FEMA assistance:

  • Visit a Disaster Recovery Center. To find a center close to you, go online to: DRC Locator, or text DRC along with your Zip Code to 43362 (Ex: DRC 04074).
  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Help is available in most languages. The Helpline is available daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET.
  • Go online to (also in Spanish).
  • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish), available at Google Play or the Apple App Store. 

To view an accessible video on how to apply visit Three Ways to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance - YouTube 

For the latest information visit 4765 | or 4766 | Follow FEMA on X, formerly known as Twitter, at and at

For updates on the Rhode Island response and recovery, follow the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency on Twitter at, on Facebook at, or visit


FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, you can call the Civil Rights Resource line at 833-285-7448.

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