Everyone has the tendency to put some things off because they have so many other things to do. But, if you suffered damage to your home or business during the Memorial Day Weekend storms, what has kept you from registering with FEMA? Is it because:
- You don’t know what FEMA can provide?
- Register with FEMA by the cutoff date, Monday, August 19 and learn about the help that may be available to you.
- You think registering with the Red Cross or your county officials means you’re automatically registered with FEMA?
- It does not. You have to register directly with FEMA.
- You’re a renter?
- FEMA grants and SBA loans are not just for homeowners. Both agencies may provide assistance to help renters who lost personal property or who were displaced.
- You have insurance and you think that makes you ineligible for FEMA’s help?
- You can still register with FEMA. By federal regulations, FEMA cannot duplicate the assistance you may get from your insurance, but it can provide supplemental assistance if your insurance falls short in covering your losses.
- You’ve already made the needed repairs, so it’s too late?
- Even if you made repairs you can still register with FEMA. Photographs of the damage will be helpful, and receipts will be valuable.
- You think FEMA only makes loans and you don’t want to have to pay back a loan?
- FEMA gives grants which do not have to be paid back.
- You fear receiving FEMA assistance could affect your Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid?
- FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and is not considered taxable income by the IRS.
- You doubt the damage you suffered is enough to merit FEMA’s attention?
- Let FEMA judge if you are eligible for federal assistance.
- You’re not a U.S. citizen, so you think you’re not eligible?
- Only U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents qualify for federal disaster assistance. However, undocumented families can apply if one family member is a citizen with a Social Security number, even if that member is a minor child. The minor child must live with the parent or guardian applying on the child’s behalf.
- You don’t want to take money that might help someone more in need than you?
- FEMA does not weigh one survivor’s needs against another’s. If you are eligible, FEMA will provide funds to help start your recovery process.
Registering with FEMA is easy and there are several ways to do it:
- Go online to www.disasterassistance.gov.
- Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Phone lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are on duty.
- Use FEMA’s disaster app on your smartphone. To download it, go to www.fema.gov/mobile-app.
Information on how to apply for low-interest SBA loans for businesses and residents is available online at SBA.gov/disaster. You may also call 800-659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or low-hearing may call 800-877-8339.