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Misinformation may stop some storm survivors from registering with FEMA

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FRANKFORT, Ky.--Some  survivors of the severe storms and tornadoes that struck Kentucky Feb. 29 through March 3 may not have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance because of misconceptions or lack of accurate information.

With the deadline to register for federal assistance less than two weeks away on May 7, it’s important that all survivors who suffered damage in the disaster register as soon as possible.

Here are some examples of misconceptions and misinformation:

“I thought my income was too high for me to qualify.”

There is no income test for FEMA assistance. Anyone with disaster damage or loss may be eligible for help.

“My insurance agent told me I might not be able to get help from FEMA because I have insurance.”

Everyone with insurance should register. FEMA may be able to help with uninsured costs.

“I rent my home so I thought I wouldn’t be eligible for FEMA assistance.”

Anyone who suffered damage during the Kentucky storms and tornadoes of Feb. 29-March 3 should register with FEMA. Renters may qualify for assistance for losses suffered.

“I thought assistance would affect my Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid.”

FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and it is not reportable as taxable income.

“I registered with the voluntary agency that is helping in the community. I thought that registered me with FEMA, too.”

In order to be considered for disaster assistance, you must register with FEMA by using the toll-free telephone number or online. The phone number is 800-621-3362 or log on to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

“I thought it was too late for me to apply since I already cleaned up and made the repairs.”

You may be eligible for reimbursement of your clean up and repair expenses.

“I thought FEMA only made loans. I don’t want a loan.”

FEMA makes grants to help survivors recover. These are not loans and do not have to be repaid.

“I’m going to register just as soon as I can find the time to get all the paperwork done.”

There is no paperwork to register with FEMA. You can do it with one phone call that takes about 30 minutes or go online and register which also doesn’t take long to do. The deadline is May 7, so don’t wait any longer to register.

“I already received disaster assistance last year. I thought I couldn’t get it again this year.”

If you had damage from another federally declared disaster you may register for assistance because you had damage in this disaster.

“Other people need the help more than I do.”
FEMA has enough funding to assist all eligible survivors. You will not be taking from others if you register for aid yourself.

“I didn’t know there was assistance available.”
FEMA tries to let everyone know about disaster assistance, but some people miss the message.  Please be sure to tell your neighbors, co-workers and friends.

There are three ways to register with FEMA for help or information regarding disaster assistance: call 800-621-FEMA (3362). Help is available in many languages. Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Register using a tablet or Smartphone by visiting m.fema.gov.
Disaster applicants who use TTY should call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call 800-621-3362. Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, every day.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.

If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s housing assistance and Other Needs Assistance grants for medical, dental, and funeral expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications should submit them to SBA to be considered for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. Applicants who do not qualify for a SBA loan may be eligible to receive Other Needs Assistance grants for these items.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.

If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.