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What To Expect When You Call FEMA

Release date: 
May 28, 2003
Release Number: 
1462-14

Lenexa, KS -- Understanding the steps of the state/federal recovery process can help those affected by the recent storms make informed decisions to begin rebuilding their lives.

Q. How do I register with FEMA?
A. The only way to register with FEMA is to call the toll-free teleregistration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), (TTY 1-800-462-7585), 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CDT, seven days a week. This is the ONLY way to be eligible for state and federal disaster assistance. Once you register with FEMA, you will be given a control number that will identify you as having registered. The process takes about 20 minutes. You must be registered with FEMA before the application period closes on July 7, 2003.

Q. I am a renter. Should I still register with FEMA?
A. Yes, you should register with FEMA. If you have renters insurance, contact your insurance company, then call FEMA. Renters who experienced disaster-related losses may be eligible for a variety of state and federal programs that can provide temporary housing and replace damaged personal property.

Q. I registered with FEMA right after the tornado and received a letter informing me I was not eligible because the county I live in had not been officially declared a disaster area. Should I call and register again?
A. If you already called and registered with FEMA, you do not have to call again. You will receive a letter advising you of the status of your claim. There is no need to re-register, however you may call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) and select the Helpline option to inquire about the status of your claim or make changes to your personal information.

Q. If I have registered with the American Red Cross or another agency, do I still need to call FEMA?
A. Yes. State and federal disaster assistance programs are separate from all voluntary agency programs.

Q. What information will I have to give when I call FEMA to register?
A. You will be asked general information about your income, your insurance and how badly your residence or business was damaged. You should be prepared to give details about your housing needs, the location of the damaged property, and a phone number where you can be reached.

Q. I have insurance. Should I still register with FEMA?
A. If you have private insurance, contact your insurance company first then contact FEMA to register and get a control number. Disaster assistance may be available to help uninsured or underinsured losses or expenses.

Q. Will I get help from FEMA before my insurance company settles?
A. Since state and federal programs cannot duplicate benefits, you must settle with your insurance company before we may be able to help you. If your insurance settlement is delayed or if your policy does not cover temporary housing needs, FEMA may be able to help with rental assistance. Register with FEMA as soon as possible. The basic forms of temporary housing are rental assistance and essential home repair.

Q. What if I have questions after I have registered with FEMA?
A. After you have applied for assistance through FEMA, if you have questions about the status of your application, you can call the Helpline for assistance. That number is 1-800- 621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585). This useful resource can help answer questions about the assistance process and available programs. Call the Helpline to provide FEMA with additional information or changes in contact information.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:53