Tips for applying for FEMA aid

September 22, 2008 11:32:22 AM PDT
FEMA encourages Houstonians who experienced damage from Hurricane Ike to apply for federal assistance.ROAD TO RECOVERY: Breaking news on Ike | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

Keep in mind that FEMA defines disaster assistance as, "money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance. It is meant to help you with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster."

That assistance includes money for repairs, temporary housing, replacement of personal property and permanent housing construction. There are also conditions that allow money for other things than just housing needs. The maximum amount of money a storm victim can receive is $28,800.

The agency says anyone who is a homeowner or renter in a declared county can apply for aid. That also includes small businesses that are a part of the Small Business Administration program.

There are a few things that need to be done and gathered before contacting FEMA.

- Your Social Security number
- Current and pre-disaster address
- A telephone number where you can be contacted
- Type of insurance coverage
- Total household annual income
- A routing and account number from your bank (only necessary if you want to have disaster assistance funds transferred directly into your bank account)
- A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster

You can read what happens after you apply here.

Next a FEMA inspector will contact you about an appointment. At the time of the appointment, an inspector will come to the property and inspect it.

There will be five to 10 days before FEMA will make a determination of aid for the property [READ MORE]. If you qualify for a grant, you will be mailed a check or it will be deposited in your bank account based on your preference. A letter will be sent to you describing how the agency believes you are to spend the money. The example the agency give is repairs to your home or to rent another house while you make repairs. If FEMA decides you don't qualify for a grant, a letter will be sent explaining the decision.

Contact FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or logging onto FEMA.gov.

Disaster Assistance Frequently Asked Questions

Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide


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