Steps To Take After The Disaster
The following are the first
steps you need to take to recover from the recent disaster
and a brief explanation of the federal government’s disaster
assistance process. For more detailed information, please
visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area or
The Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) is asking for your help to get
assistance first to people with destroyed or seriously
damaged homes. If you have damages that are not keeping you
from returning home, please wait a few days to apply for
disaster assistance. If you get a busy signal when calling
FEMA, be patient. The line is operational 24/7. Try calling
late in the evening or early in the morning.
If you need food, water,
clothing, cleaning supplies, and/or minor medical care,
please contact the American Red Cross or other volunteer
organizations in your area.
Check your newspaper, radio and television news for numbers
and locations of relief agencies.
If you have insurance, contact
your insurance company and file a claim.
Make sure to talk to your agent about your coverage. If your
insurance does not cover all of your needs, such as money to
pay for a place to stay while you fix your house (sometimes
called additional living expense coverage), you may be
eligible for money from the federal government. The federal
government cannot give you money for items that insurance
covers, but we may be able to help with uncompensated
losses. If your insurance company is going to take a long
time to settle your claim, you may also be eligible for
If you do not have insurance,
or have emergency needs that insurance does not cover ---
Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - TTY 1-800-462-7585 - to apply
for federal disaster assistance.
Federal disaster assistance is for disaster damage to your
primary home (vacation homes are not eligible) and includes
FEMA’s Individual and Households Program grants and the U.S.
Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster
loans to help you repair or rebuild your home, replace
essential personal property and provide temporary housing
until you can return to your home.You will need to provide
the following information as part of registration: name,
current and pre-disaster address (if applicable), proof of
residency, current telephone numbers and insurance coverage
information (policy numbers and agent’s name). FEMA and/or
SBA will contact you either with a telephone call from an
inspector or by mail about your application.
After you apply:
FEMA will mail you a copy of
your application and an Applicant Guide that will answer
many of your questions. Copies of the guide are also
available at local Disaster Recovery Centers. For the most
recent list of Disaster Recovery Centers, visit www.fema.gov
or check local newspapers.
Please wait for a FEMA
inspector to contact you and complete an inspection of your
home before calling with questions. FEMA cannot evaluate
your case until the inspector has confirmed your damages. An
inspector should contact you within 10 days after you apply.
FEMA will decide if you will receive assistance within 10
days after the inspection.
If you have access to a
computer, check FEMA’s website (www.fema.gov) for frequently
asked questions regarding disaster assistance.
If you get an SBA Disaster Loan
application in the mail, you need to complete and return the
application. SBA staff are available at Disaster Recovery
Centers to help you with the application.
If SBA finds that you cannot
afford a loan, they will automatically refer you to FEMA’s
Individual and Household grant program for help. SBA makes
the determination if you can afford a loan.
- If SBA
approves you for a loan they will contact you.
- If SBA
finds that you cannot afford a loan, FEMA will contact
- If FEMA
decides that you are eligible for a grant, FEMA will
send you a check by mail or deposit it in your bank
account. FEMA will also send you a letter describing how
you are to use the money (for example: repairs to your
home or to rent another house while you make repairs).
- If FEMA
decides that you are not eligible for a grant, FEMA will
send you a letter explaining why you were turned down,
and give you a chance to appeal the decision. Appeals
must be in writing and mailed within 60 days of FEMA’s