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FAQ: Getting the Disaster Help You Need

Release date: 
December 10, 2018
Release Number: 
DR-4407-CA FAQ 003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Federal, state and non-profit organizations are working every day to help Butte County wildfire survivors. The following questions and answers address common questions and clear up rumors and misconceptions.

1. Does my property have to be inspected within 30 days to remain eligible for disaster assistance?

No. The disaster assistance application period remains open until Jan. 11, 2019, and survivors do not become ineligible if their properties cannot yet be inspected.

2. If my property is inaccessible but I need additional help, what can I do?

If you need continued rental or other disaster assistance, you will need to show you have used your initial help as described in your approval letter. Keep and submit receipts that show how you have used disaster assistance funding.

For some forms of assistance, FEMA may need to confirm your home is still inaccessible. You do not, however, need to request a letter from the Sheriff’s Office or other local officials to confirm your property remains inaccessible. FEMA uses evacuation and repopulation information posted on to determine whether areas are still inaccessible.

3. What should I do when my neighborhood reopens?

When your property becomes accessible, if you have not had a FEMA inspection, please call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 to request an inspection. This will help your case move forward.

4. Why is insurance information important to my request for disaster assistance?

Disaster assistance cannot replace coverage you have already paid for through insurance, and insurance is the primary source of financial help after disasters. If you are waiting on insurance decisions, continue to work with your agent or company. Some survivors’ cases are stalled at the federal level because we need more information about your insurance. Please call 800-621-3362 to provide that information or visit a Disaster Recovery Center.

5. What if I received a letter saying I am not eligible for disaster assistance?

Not all survivors who registered with FEMA for disaster assistance will be eligible, and many will be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or other disaster recovery organizations. If you receive a letter from FEMA saying you have been determined ineligible, please read the letter carefully. Very often we are missing basic information and your ineligibility can be resolved quickly. Anyone who disagrees with FEMA on an ineligibility determination may appeal that decision.

6. How do I apply for disaster assistance, and where can I go for questions?

To register for disaster assistance, you can visit, call 800-621-3362 or visit the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Chico or Oroville.

The Helpline and DRCs are also open and ready to answer your questions. The DRCs are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are located at:

Former Sears Store, Chico Mall

1982 East 20th Street

Chico, CA 95928


Store Front

2140 Feather River Blvd.

Oroville, CA 95965


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters.

For more information, applicants may visit their nearest Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), apply online at, or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, or emailing


Last Updated: 
December 10, 2018 - 20:52