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Do Not Wait for Your Insurance Settlement; Apply Now for FEMA and SBA Disaster Aid

Release date: 
October 22, 2011
Release Number: 

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Many Pennsylvanians who suffered losses during Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee have already notified their insurance companies. Those same insured homeowners and renters can, and should, register for FEMA disaster assistance too.

"Pennsylvanians affected by these disasters may find they are underinsured or that their policies do not cover rent money needed while repairing or rebuilding their homes," said Commonwealth Coordinating Officer, John Forr. "Don't wait for your insurance settlement before registering with FEMA because you could miss out on disaster funds you may be eligible for."

Once registered, each application is reviewed by FEMA. If an insured applicant expects their insurance policy to cover storm-related loss and damages, they are mailed a "Request for Information" letter. The letter details additional information to support the applicant's need for federal disaster assistance. It also explains FEMA's "Other Needs Assistance," how to qualify for these funds, and what information or documentation is needed to determine eligibility.

"Don't forget to call FEMA to update your application after you have settled with your insurance company," said Federal Coordinating Officer, Thomas J. McCool. "Even if you are insured, your policy may not cover everything. Updating FEMA with insurance information could mean you are eligible for additional assistance funds."

People who work or live in the 28 Pennsylvania counties declared eligible for disaster aid as a result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee and who were affected by either or both storms should register with FEMA. Federal disaster assistance funds are provided to eligible survivors in the form of FEMA grants that do not have to be repaid and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The 28 Pennsylvania counties designated under the disaster declarations for Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee are Adams, Berks, Bucks, Bradford, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming, and York.

To be considered for a FEMA grant or an SBA loan, you must register with FEMA no later than November 14.

There are four ways to register:

  • Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Operators assist callers seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Help is available in most languages. If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585.
  • Register online at
  • Register using a tablet or smartphone by visiting
  • If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

If you have a disability and need help registering, please contact FEMA for assistance.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 1-800-462-7585.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 8, 2017 - 10:49
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