Questions and Answers: FEMA Assistance (2024)

Questions and Answers: FEMA Assistance (1)

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Release Date:

May 21, 2024

FEMAIndividualAssistancehelpsdisastersurvivorsbeginrecoverybyprovidinggrantsforbasic,critical needs. Answers to questions about the federal assistance process can be found below.

WhattypesofassistancecouldIreceive?

  • FEMA assistance is designed to jumpstart recovery efforts and ensure your home is livable. The assistance you receive is not likely to cover the full costs of returning your home or property to the condition it may have been in prior to the disaster. To see what types of assistance might be available to you, visit the Find Assistancepage.

CanIapplyforFEMAassistanceifIhaveinsurance?

  • Yes. You may qualify for FEMA disaster assistance even if you have insurance, so don’t wait to apply with FEMA. However, you will need to file a claim with your insurance provider and submit the insurance settlement or denial letter to FEMA to determine your eligibility for some forms of assistance. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by your insurance.

WhatcanIdoifmyinsurancesettlementisdelayed?

  • Speak to your insurance agent first. If you’re unable to resolve your concern, you may contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1526. If a decision on your insurance settlement has been delayed longer than 30 days from filing, you may be eligible for an insurance advance payment from FEMA to cover temporary housing needs. These funds must be repaid to FEMA once you receive your insurance settlement. You may also apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan without waiting for your insurance settlement. SBA can approve a loan for homeowners for the total replacement cost up to the lending limits. Once the insurance settles, if there is a duplication of benefits, SBA will apply those funds to the balance of the disaster loan.

IfIalreadystartedtheclean-upprocess,canIstillgethelptocoverthose expenses?

  • Yes. Don’t wait for possible federal assistance to begin your recovery. Keep repair receipts and document damage whenever possible. FEMA inspectors are trained to recognize damage caused by a disaster and will discuss those damages with you when they contact you or come to your home.

If I received displacement assistance but I still need help with temporary housing, what should I do?

  • Call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or visit an open recovery center to request FEMA rental assistance.

DoIneedahomeinspectiontogetFEMAassistance?

  • Yes. FEMA inspectors may call from an unknown phone number and make several attempts to discuss your disaster-caused damage. An inspection can only be done when the applicant or co-applicant is present.

Asarenter,whattypesofFEMAassistancecouldIbeeligible for?

  • Renters affected by the March 14 tornadoes may be eligible for grants to help pay for temporary housing, repair or replacement costs for necessary personal property, such as furniture, appliances, clothing and school supplies; personal computer; replacement or repair of tools and other job-related equipment required by the self-employed; primary vehicles; uninsured or out-of-pocket medical, dental, childcare or moving and storage expenses.

WillFEMAgrantsaffectmySocialSecuritybenefits,taxes,foodstamps,orMedicaid?

  • No. FEMA assistance is tax-free and does not affect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or other federal welfare and entitlement programs.

I’mafarmerwhohaddisasterlossesfromtheMarch14tornadoes—amIeligiblefor federal assistance?

  • Farmers may be eligible for FEMA assistance to help with serious needs, paying for a temporary place to live, home repairs and other uninsured needs. The SBA also offers low-interest loans to eligible farmers to rebuild or repair their primary home and replace lost or damaged personal property.
  • When natural disasters strike, USDA offers technical and financial assistance to help producers recover from droughts, tornadoes, excessive rain, winter storms and more. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers FSA Disaster Programs to help producers recover from eligible losses from natural disasters including droughts FSADisasterPrograms to help producers recover from eligible losses from natural disasters including droughts, tornadoes, flooding and more. FSA’s Emergency Loan Program provides loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine. We encourage you to contact your USDA Service Center to discuss program and loan options and what is needed for eligibility and to apply.

I received a letter saying I am currently not approved for FEMA assistance. Does that mean I can’t expect any help from FEMA?

  • Not necessarily. It’s important to read your FEMA decision letter carefully. You may just need to provide additional information—such as your insurance settlement or denial—or other documents to keep your application moving. You can always visit a recovery center or call the FEMA helpline if you need help with the process.

FEMAdidnotgivemeenoughmoney.WhatifIcan’trebuildmyhousetowhatitlooked like before?

  • If you disagree with FEMA’s decision, you may appeal within 60 days of the date of the decision letter. To meet the needs of disaster survivors more fully, FEMA partners with other governmental and non-governmental agencies. The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters in a declared disaster area. Learn more atDisaster assistance | U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov).

HowcanIappeal?

  • Appeals must be submitted within 60 days of the date of the decision letter. Your FEMA letter will provide additional information on what will need to be provided if you choose to appeal FEMA’s decision. With your decision letter, FEMA will also provide an Appeal Request Form that may be used to help provide additional information. Your appeal may be submitted by fax or mail, in-person, or online if you have a FEMA online account. To set up a FEMA online account, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Apply Online” and follow the directions.
    • Bymail:FEMANationalProcessingServiceCenter,P.O.Box10055,Hyattsville,MD20782-7055
    • Byfax:800-827-8112,Attention:FEMA
    • In-person: Visit any Disaster Recovery Center to submit your appeal. Find a center here: fema.gov/DRC.

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