The deadline to apply for FEMA disaster assistance and SBA loans was recently extended to November 30th.
Active FEMA benefits include:
-Transitional Sheltering Assistance
-Two Months of Expedited Rental Assistance
-National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Advance Payments
-Critical Needs Assistance
-Immediate Foreclosure Relief from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Critical Needs Assistance: Critical needs are life-saving and life-sustaining items including but not limited to: water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation. To eligible for Critical Needs Assistance, a survivor must:
-Complete registration with FEMA
-Assert at the time of registration that they have critical needs and request financial assistance for those needs and expenses
-Have a pre-disaster primary residence located in a county designated for CNA, and -Be displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence as a result of the disaster
Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance
- Apply for Disaster Loan Assistance
What information do I need to apply for FEMA grants?
- Social Security number
- Address of damaged property
- Address where you are staying and telephone number
- Insurance information (if any)
- Total household annual income
- A description of your disaster-caused damage and losses
- An explanation of where you currently live (Beware: FEMA can deny you temporary housing costs if you say you’re living at the damaged property, even if you’re staying in a tent in the yard. Don’t provide false information but do be aware of this fact.)
- Routing and account number if you want FEMA to direct deposit the grant you receive
What can FEMA help with?
- Temporary housing costs. Check for list of hotels accepting FEMA funds at www.femaevachotels.com. If your hotel is not a participating hotel, save your hotel bill to ask FEMA for reimbursement later.
- Rent. FEMA might help with at least one month’s rent at a new place if your home was damaged.
- Repair. FEMA might help provide a limited amount of help to make your residence safe and functional. You must be the owner of the home to apply for this type of assistance.
- Replacing belongings. You do NOT need to be the property owner to apply for assistance to replace your personal belongings damaged in a disaster.
What should I beware of?
- A house is not eligible for a FEMA grant if it has flooded before. If a property has flooded, property owners are required to purchase flood insurance and are no longer eligible for FEMA assistance. If you were sold a property and it was not disclosed there had previously been a flood, you may have legal recourse against the previous property owner however.
- FEMA is allowed to demand you repay grants if it finds it made a mistake in issuing you the grant. This means if you receive a grant to cover damage on a house you own, and FEMA later discovers that house has flooded before, they can demand full repayment.
- Keep all papers you get from FEMA.
- If you receive a grant, you must spend money as directed and you should keep all of your receipts for up to three years after FEMA provided you assistance.
How do I apply for a FEMA grant?
- You have until Nov. 30 to apply for a FEMA grant but apply soon as funds may run out.
- Do not make false statements. Inaccurate information can result in fines and imprisonment. FEMA can seek repayment if it decides financial aid was given by mistake or money was spent inappropriately.
- Check your registration regularly. One of the main reasons people don’t get FEMA assistance is because FEMA will give up trying to contact you if they can’t reach you with the contact information you provided. Always update your FEMA account’s phone number or address when they change.
- Once you file for a grant, you must create an online account within 3 days of applying or FEMA will default to corresponding by mail.
What happens when FEMA comes to inspect my property?
- Someone 18 years or older must be present during inspection and have: a photo id, proof of ownership/occupancy, insurance documents, list of occupants at time of disaster, list of disaster-caused damages.
- Homeowners can show a tax bill, deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy with the property’s address. Renters can show a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document that shows the home was your primary residence at the time of the disaster
- Ask the inspector to see their FEMA ID. Do not give a FEMA inspector your bank or credit card information.
What do I do if I’m denied a grant?
- If FEMA offers you a SBA loan instead of a grant, always apply for the loan even if you don’t plan to accept it. Just because you apply does not mean you have to accept it. If you are not eligible for the loan or if the loan is for an insufficient amount, FEMA will automatically refer you back to its grant program and you may then receive a grant.
- Visit a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in person to talk about why you were denied assistance. You have 60 days to appeal a denied claim.