Wildfire Survivors Should Call FEMA Helpline or visit DisasterAssistance.gov by Dec. 11
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Individuals and households with losses due to August/September wildfires in Butte, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Trinity, Tulare and Yolo counties have just one week remaining to apply for grants from FEMA or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The deadline is Dec. 11.
These counties are included in federal Disaster 4558, declared initially Aug. 22 for seven counties and expanded later.
FEMA awards help eligible survivors pay for rent, home repair/replacement and many other serious disaster-related needs, including replacement or repair of vehicles, funeral expenses, medical or dental expenses and miscellaneous other costs. To be reimbursed by FEMA, survivors should photograph damage and save receipts for repair work.
Survivors should contact their insurers and file a claim for the disaster-caused damage before they register with FEMA. Anyone with insurance should register with FEMA even if they aren’t yet certain whether they will be eligible. FEMA may be able to help with costs that insurance doesn’t cover.
The agency can determine eligibility once an applicant’s insurance claim is settled—but there won’t be any FEMA reimbursement for those who fail to register by the Dec. 11 deadline for those who suffered losses in fires including the CZU Lightning Complex, SCU Lighting Complex, August Complex Fire, LNU Lightning Complex, North Complex, Sheep, Dolan and SQF Complex.
There are three ways for survivors to register: online at DisasterAssistance.gov, with the FEMA Mobile App on a smartphone or tablet, or by or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. PST. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, should provide FEMA with the specific number assigned to that service when they register. Multilingual services are available on the helpline and specialists can answer most questions about FEMA assistance and registration.
To register you will need the following information:
- Social Security number
- Insurance policy information
- Address of the damaged primary dwelling
- A description of disaster-caused damage and losses
- Current mailing address
- Current telephone number
- Total household annual income
- Routing and account number of your checking or savings account (for direct transfer of funds to your bank account)
After you register online or with the FEMA app, you can create your own account. This will enable you to check the status of your application, view messages from FEMA, update your personal information and upload documents that may be necessary to determine your eligibility for aid.
If you are unable to upload your documents, mail them to FEMA at P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-8055 or fax them to 800-827-8112.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Dec. 11 is also the deadline to apply for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Grants from FEMA are meant to give eligible survivors a start on their road to recovery. The primary source of recovery funding for many, however, is a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which makes disaster loans to individuals and businesses of all sizes.
Survivors can find out more and apply for a loan at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/. For additional assistance, contact the SBA’s Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center. Customer service representatives are available to assist individuals and business owners, answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each person complete their electronic loan application. The Virtual DLOC is open 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST daily. Call 800-659-2955 or email FOCWAssistance@sba.gov.
These services are only available for the California disaster declaration as a result of the wildfires and not for COVID-19-related assistance.
For the latest information on wildfire recovery, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4558 and follow the FEMA Region 9 Twitter account at twitter.com/femaregion9.