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Fact Sheet: Questions and Answers About Georgia Disaster Assistance

Release date: 
October 13, 2017
Release Number: 
R4 DR-4338-GA FS 012

FEMA Registration

Question: Can survivors register for FEMA assistance if they have insurance?
Answer:  Yes.

Survivors may be eligible for FEMA disaster aid for their uninsured and underinsured losses and damage.

Question: When survivors register do they immediately qualify and receive payments from FEMA?
Answer: No.

After survivors register, their completed applications are reviewed, and an inspector may call to schedule an inspection of their home. If survivors are eligible for assistance, they should receive a U.S. Treasury/State check or notification of a direct deposit to their bank accounts. Other types of assistance may be provided later, based on specific eligibility and need.

Question: Can survivors register if their county isn’t listed in the presidential declaration?

Answer: Survivors who have damages or losses from the hurricane are urged to register, since other counties may be designated for assistance after damage assessments are completed. Please register online at or by calling 800-621-3362. Disaster survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. If survivors use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require accommodations when visiting a center, call 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available. Open Disaster Recovery Centers are accessible and equipped with tools to accommodate survivors who need disability-related communication aids.

FEMA Disaster Assistance

Question: Does it take a long time for disaster aid to reach survivors?
Answer: FEMA has Individual Assistance specialists working in Georgia and some survivors already have received grants. Specialists will continue to process assistance for eligible survivors as applications are received.

Question: If survivors receive FEMA assistance are their Social Security benefits reduced?
Answer: No.

FEMA assistance will not affect Social Security or other federal benefits. Disaster assistance does not count as income.

Disaster Assistance for Noncitizens

Question: Is federal assistance available only to U.S. citizens?
Answer: No.

Survivors who are in the United States legally, but are not U.S. citizens, may be eligible for disaster assistance. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals or qualified aliens to receive federal monetary assistance. The legal status of qualified aliens will not be jeopardized by applying for aid.

Disaster assistance also may be available if someone in the household is entitled to it. For example, a parent or guardian who is not eligible for assistance can still apply on behalf of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien. The guardian only certifies for the child.

Additionally, low-interest disaster assistance loans for non-citizen-owned businesses of all sizes (including rental properties), homeowners and renters may be available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).


Question:  Can renters apply for FEMA aid?

Answer: Yes.

Renters in designated counties whose homes were made unlivable by a disaster may be eligible for FEMA disaster grants to help pay for rent and other serious disaster-related needs.

Application Deadline

Question: Is there a deadline for survivors to apply for disaster assistance?

Answer: Yes.

The deadline for Hurricane Irma survivors is November 14, 2017.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Question: Is it true that only businesses can get low-interest disaster loans from SBA?
Answer: No.

SBA low-interest disaster loans are available to homeowners and renters, as well as businesses
of all sizes (including rental properties) and certain private nonprofit organizations, for disaster damages not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.

Question: Why should survivors complete an SBA loan application?

Answer: The SBA Disaster Loan program is a critical step in the recovery process and is available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and certain private nonprofit organizations affected by the recent hurricanes.

If homeowners and renters are denied an SBA loan, they will be referred back to FEMA for possible additional grant consideration. Failure to complete and return the SBA application could stop a survivor’s recovery.

FEMA Inspectors

Question: How long does it take for a FEMA housing inspector to visit?
Answer: Due to the number of large-scale disasters FEMA is responding to, it could take up to 30 days for an inspection.


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 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 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. Follow us on Twitter at and the FEMA Blog at

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s Web site at Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 11:59