BATON ROUGE, La. – A FEMA grant gives a boost to rebuilding and recovery from disaster.
You have very real needs following a disaster and you know best what they are. When you applied for FEMA assistance, you explained your situation and now you have received a grant. It is time to go to work on your recovery using the funds quickly, wisely and only for disaster-related expenses.
The letter you received about the grant explains what you can spend the money on. Among approved expenses are:
- Repairs to make a home habitable;
- Rental assistance to pay for a temporary place to stay;
- Repair or replacement of a disaster-damaged essential vehicle;
- Medical care for an injury caused by the disaster;
- Replacing clothing, occupational tools and educational materials; and
- Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster.
While FEMA Individual Assistance is tax free and grants don’t have to be repaid, it does come with guidelines. You need to document how you used your disaster funds and keep these records (e.g., receipts, invoices) for at least three years to ensure you are prepared if FEMA identifies your case for an audit.
Make sure to keep FEMA assistance separate from your spending on travel, entertainment, regular living expenses or anything not related to the disaster.
If you spend the payment on anything other than the purpose for which it is directed, you may be denied assistance the next time there is a disaster. In some cases, FEMA will ask that the money be returned.
To help you get started on repairs, FEMA provides a resource through its mitigation department. Experts can provide information on disaster clean-up from flood and wind damage, selecting and working with contractors and on choosing building materials. Community Education and Outreach (CEO) Specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 1-833-FEMA-4US or send an email to FEMA-LAmit@fema.dhs.gov.