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Hurricane Michael Rumor Control

Rumor: If the National Weather Service changes Hurricane Michael from a Category 4 storm to a Category 5 storm, this will increase the amount of disaster assistance available from FEMA.

Fact: Storm category has no effect on disaster assistance. Individuals, households and local governments receive assistance they are eligible for, regardless of the category of the storm.

Rumor: USACE/contractors charge for Blue Roof installations

Fact:  The Blue Roof Program, managed by the Corps of Engineers is funded by FEMA and at NO COST to the individual homeowner.  Individuals representing themselves as part of the program attempting to charge Hurricane Michael survivors should be reported to FEMA (866-720-5721, TTY 844-889-4357), the Corps (888-766-3258) or local law enforcement. Homeowners may also report fraud in person at any ROE collection center.

Rumor: FEMA is asking owners of RV parks to evict current tenants to make room for disaster survivors.

Fact: FEMA works with state and local governments to locate available spaces to place travel trailers, but never asks property owners to evict current occupants.

Myth: I'm a renter. I thought FEMA assistance was only for homeowners for home repairs.

Fact: FEMA assistance is not just paid for homeowners. FEMA may provide assistance to help renters who lost personal property or who were displaced.

Myth: I don't want to apply for help because others had more damage; they need the help more than I do.

Fact: FEMA has enough funding to assist all eligible survivors with their disaster-related needs.

Myth: I didn't apply for help because I don't want a loan.

Fact: FEMA only provides grants that do not have to be paid back. The grants may cover expenses for temporary housing, home repairs, replacement of damaged personal property and other disaster-related needs such as medical, dental or transportation costs not covered by insurance or other programs.

Myth: FEMA assistance could affect my Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid.

Fact: FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and is not considered taxable income.

Rumor: The federal government isn’t there and is leaving people to fend for themselves

Fact: FEMA currently has nearly 1,500 staff deployed in support of Hurricane Michael. FEMA and its federal partners have been on the ground since before Hurricane Michael made landfall. FEMA has provided affected states with food, water, and other supplies at points of distribution for direct pickup by survivors.

Rumor: FEMA is writing checks to survivors at points of distribution

Fact: FEMA is not writing checks to survivors in person at any locations. Points of distribution have FEMA and state provided supplies, including food and water that survivors can pick up for personal use.

Rumor: If your home is deemed unlivable, FEMA will issue a voucher for a place to stay for 90 days.

Fact: FEMA may provide money to rent temporary housing to survivors who are displaced from their home as a result of a Presidentially-declared disaster.

Rumor: FEMA is handing out vouchers for hotels.

Fact: FEMA does not use vouchers for hotels. All sheltering in hotel or motels approved by FEMA is paid directly to hotels. Survivors do not receive vouchers from FEMA.

Scam: Inspections or Contractor Repairs

There have been reports of FEMA inspectors asking for personal information or charging for services such as damage inspections or contractor repairs. This is a SCAM.
Scam artists may pose as government officials, aid workers, charitable organizations, or insurance company employees. Follow these steps:

  • Do notrespond to texts, phone calls or personal requests seeking your personal information. The only time you should provide personal information is during the initial application process for FEMA help or when you initiate contact with FEMA to follow up on an application. FEMA inspectors only require verification of identity.
  • Ask for identification and don’t be afraid to hang up on cold callers.
  • Contact government agencies using information posted on their websites or in other official sources.
  • Don’t trust someone who asks for money. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.
  • Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or contracts with blank spaces.
  • Use licensed or verified local contractors backed by reliable references.

If you suspect fraud, contact the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, email, or report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Last Updated: 
01/29/2019 - 08:21