FEMA: Don’t let misinformation keep you from registering for disaster assistance

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – FEMA wants Hurricane Matthew survivors to be informed when it comes to registering for disaster assistance. In a press release today, officials say they believe thousands of North Carolinians have still not registered, but are eligible for assistance. They say misinformation is keeping people away from applying for aid.

The agency released information that covers a wide range of topics to help those affected and addressed the following common  misconceptions regarding registering with FEMA are:

  1. Registering for disaster assistance with other agencies or organizations registers you for FEMA disaster assistance. It does not.
  2. Having FEMA flood insurance registers you for disaster assistance. It does not. It also does not disqualify you from applying for assistance. Flood insurance claims are handled separately and you may find that you had uninsured losses.

FEMA also wants to encourage people with language barriers to still apply. They have interpreters and translators available to help with the registration process.

The following are commonly asked questions and responses with accurate information about federal and state disaster programs and services:

 

  • I have insurance. Am I still eligible for help? Possibly. FEMA will not duplicate insurance benefits, but you may be eligible for help with losses not covered or with damage in excess of your coverage.
  • I am waiting for my insurance adjuster. Can I still apply for disaster assistance? Yes. Don’t wait for an adjuster before applying for aid or making necessary repairs to make your house livable, but do check with your local building officials for permitting, right of entrance or any other local issues before starting, and be sure to keep papers and receipts for all work because you may qualify for reimbursement of expenses not covered by insurance. And, you will want to keep FEMA informed of your settlement status and provide any updated insurance documentation, including a settlement if you received it.
  • I received help from the Red Cross and other organizations immediately after the disaster. Can I still get help from FEMA or the state? Yes.
  • If I gave information to my emergency manager, called 2-1-1 or the American Red Cross, must I still register with FEMA? Yes. To be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance, you must first apply with FEMA. You can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, call FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, you would call 800-462-7585. You also can download the FEMA Mobile App and apply.
  • I don’t own a business. Why should I apply for a loan from the SBA? Next to insurance, SBA is the primary source of funds for real estate property repairs and replacing lost contents following a disaster. Obtaining a low-interest disaster loan may be the solution to your recovery needs. Returning the completed application also may enable you to qualify for additional FEMA disaster recovery assistance programs for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs. If SBA determines you cannot afford a loan, you may be considered for assistance from other organizations. There is no requirement to take out a loan if one is offered from SBA.

For more information on the North Carolina recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4285 and readync.org. Follow FEMA on Twitter @femaregion4 and North Carolina Emergency Management @ncemergency. You also can personally visit one of the many Disaster Recovery Centers. To locate a DRC nearest you, can call the FEMA Helpline 800-621-3362, for TTY it is 800-462-7585, download the FEMA mobile app or go online to Fema.gov/drc or NCDPS.gov.

 

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