Disaster Assistance - How Does
For Complete Information
on Disaster Assistance
Washington. September 19, 1999 - When we say we're from
FEMA and we're here to help, we mean it. Individuals, families,
farmers and businesses may be eligible for federal assistance
if they live or own a business in a county declared a major
disaster area by the President.
The flooding of Hurricane Floyd has caused many states
to be declared federal disaster areas. For residents in
those areas, one telephone call starts the process.
To apply for disaster assistance, call a special toll free
telephone number. The number is 1-800-462-9029. The number
for speech and hearing impaired individuals is: 1-800-462-7585.
Specially trained operators at one of FEMA's National Processing
Service Centers process the applications and provide information
regarding programs available and phone numbers for local
offices handling related disaster programs.
The phone interview is the beginning of the application
process. No decision is made about eligibility for one type
of aid or other at this point. Callers receive information
and applications - not goods or cash - based on these interviews.
However, the information provided by the applicant allows
the various agencies to make the necessary decisions.
The application process can be speeded up if the following
information readily available:
- Current and pre-disaster address (if appropriate)
- Proof of residency
- Current telephone numbers
- Insurance coverage; policy number(s) and agent's name
Applicants are also urged to contact their insurance company
and file necessary claims. PLEASE NOTE: Government assistance
does not cover damage or losses already covered by private
Federal disaster aid does not guarantee total recovery
from all disaster losses. Assistance is limited to assisting
in returning damaged or lost property to its pre-disaster
condition or to meeting necessary expenses and serious needs
through the following programs. Here is some brief information
about federal disaster assistance:
Temporary Housing Assistance: The Temporary Housing
Assistance Program assures that people whose homes are damaged
by disasters have a safe place to live until repairs can
be completed. The type of assistance provided is determined
by FEMA, based on criteria which assures that the option
chosen is appropriate to the individual's need and can be
delivered quickly. The basic forms of temporary housing
are rental assistance and essential home repair. This assistance
is provided if the applicant's own insurance will not provide
for temporary housing assistance.
Disaster Loans: The Small Business Administration
(SBA) can make federally-subsidized loans to repair or replace
homes, personal property or businesses which sustained damages
not covered by insurance. For many persons this loan program
is the primary form of disaster assistance they receive.
Individual and Family Grants: This program, administered
by the state but underwritten with 75 percent FEMA funding,
can provide grants to meet disaster-related serious needs
and necessary expenses not provided for by other programs,
insurance or other means. Based on guidelines provided by
the Small Business Administration, FEMA makes the determination
as to whether the applicant needs to apply for a loan from
SBA or if they are automatically referred to the grant program.
Among needs that can be met with grant funds are housing
repairs, home cleaning and sanitation, necessary household
items, replacement of tools of the applicant's trade, clothing,
transportation, and medical and dental expenses.
Other key programs an individual assistance designation
can provide include emergency loans for farmers from the
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Crisis Counseling, Disaster
Unemployment Assistance, and tax relief from the IRS.