FEMA registration process - WDRB 41 Louisville News

FEMA registration process

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ATLANTA – Survivors of the recent Kentucky tornadoes who suffered damage should register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, even if they have insurance or aren't sure they're eligible for help.

Federal disaster assistance may provide for losses not covered by insurance. Grants may be available to help pay for rental assistance and emergency home repairs. Reimbursement for other serious disaster-related expenses may include medical, dental, funeral or burial costs.

Following are the three basic steps to receiving disaster assistance:

Step One: Registration

Registration is available online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Help is available in many languages. Disaster applicants who use TTY should call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call 800-621-3362.

The toll-free FEMA registration numbers are available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.  

Survivors also can apply for federal assistance directly through Web-enabled mobile phone devices or smartphones. Registration through the mobile site takes three steps:

  1. Go to m.fema.gov and click "Apply Online for FEMA Assistance." You will be directed to www.DisasterAssistance.gov;
  2. Click on "Start Registration"; and
  3. Fill out the registration form.
  • If you have insurance, contact your agent before registering with FEMA.
  • Before calling FEMA, make sure you have your Social Security number, current mailing address, the address of the damaged property, a brief description of the damages and any insurance information, including the policy number and the name of your agent, and a phone number where you can be reached.
  • Fill out and return your Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan application if you receive one after registering. Returning the application does not obligate you to accept an SBA loan, but a completed application must be returned in order to be considered for other types of federal disaster assistance. 

Step Two: Inspections

After you register, a FEMA-contracted housing inspector will call you to set up an appointment to inspect your property. There is no charge for this service, but it is a necessary step to determine damages.

Make sure your home or mailbox number is easily visible from the road. As part of the inspection process, you must provide proof of ownership or occupancy:

  • Homeowners may show a tax bill, deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy with the property's address.
  • Renters may show a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.
  • Homeowners and renters must also present a valid driver's license or other photo ID.
  • Many documents may have been destroyed by the tornadoes. Property owners will eventually need to provide proof of ownership. Those who have lost documents should visit their tax office Property Valuation Administrator to obtain documentation of ownership. This may eliminate long delays in receiving eligible FEMA funds.

Step Three: Keep in Touch

Among the top five reasons applicants fail to receive federal assistance grants is FEMA's inability to contact them after they apply. FEMA tries to reach applicants numerous times before a decision on an application is made. It is vital that you inform FEMA of any change in telephone number and/or mailing address. This can be done by simply calling the FEMA Helpline (see below) or by visiting the disaster assistance website.

For More Information or Questions

For any assistance along the way – such as with help filling out the applications, and general questions or progress reports – call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585, and select the language option you require. If you would like to speak with someone one-on-one, visit a disaster recovery center. For a list of centers in your area, go to http://go.usa.gov/CDc.

Receiving a FEMA Grant

FEMA will issue funds if you are found eligible for a grant under the Individuals and Households Program. If you have provided banking information to FEMA, the funds will be deposited directly into your account. This option can often speed up the process of receiving assistance.

If you do receive a check, deposit it as soon as possible.

You must use the money for the disaster-related assistance for which it is intended. You will receive a letter outlining how the funds are to be spent. Keep repair receipts and document damages with photographs and videos whenever possible. Damages should be reported to the local emergency management director (a contact list is available online at http://kyem.ky.gov/teams/Pages/countydirectors.aspx).

More disaster specific information can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management website at www.kyem.ky.gov.

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). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

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