RUMOR: There’s no easy way to get true, reliable info about FEMA’s disaster aid programs.
FACT: Straight answers and plain facts are available from the disaster aid program experts on FEMA’s Help Line. Call 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585 to learn about disaster assistance programs and to register for aid. You can talk with multilingual experts every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
RUMOR: It’s hard to register for FEMA disaster assistance.
FACT: There are three ways to register for disaster assistance. Call 1-800-621-3362; TTY 1-800-462-7585; online, visit www.disasterassistance.gov or go to m.fema.gov via web-enabled phone. Users of 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 1-800-621-3362. St. Charles Parish residents are urged to register with FEMA as soon as possible.
RUMOR: It takes a long time for disaster aid to reach survivors.
FACT: FEMA already has Individual Assistance specialists on the ground in Louisiana, and they have already approved more than $1.8 million in assistance to survivors. They will continue to process assistance for eligible survivors as applications are received.
RUMOR: Survivors can’t register for FEMA assistance if they have insurance.
FACT: Survivors may be eligible for FEMA disaster aid for their uninsured and underinsured losses and damage.
RUMOR: Renters can’t get FEMA aid.
FACT: Renters whose homes were made unlivable by a disaster may be eligible for FEMA disaster grants, including rental assistance and other disaster-related needs.
RUMOR: When survivors register, they immediately qualify and receive payments from FEMA.
FACT: After survivors register, their completed applications are reviewed, and an inspector may call to schedule an inspection at their home. If survivors are eligible for assistance, they should receive a U.S. Treasury/State check or notification of a direct deposit to their bank accounts. Other types of assistance may be provided later, based on specific eligibility and need.
RUMOR: FEMA is issuing survivors $200 checks for food and $400 checks for electricity.
FACT: FEMA does not issue checks for food or electricity.
RUMOR: FEMA is issuing food stamps to Hurricane Isaac survivors.
FACT: The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) is taking applications for disaster food stamps, now known as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP). Survivors can apply by calling 1-888-524-3578.
RUMOR: It takes weeks before a FEMA housing inspector visits.
FACT: On this recovery operation, it is taking only two to three days for an inspector to call and schedule a property inspection.
RUMOR: Only businesses can get low-interest disaster loans from SBA.
FACT: SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes (including landlords) and private nonprofit organizations for disaster damages not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.
RUMOR: Immigrants do not qualify for federal assistance.
FACT: It’s true that applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien to be eligible for FEMA grants. However, aid may be available if someone registers on behalf of a child in the home who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.
RUMOR: FEMA is paying to remove debris from private property.
FACT: FEMA is reviewing whether this program will be available for Hurricane Isaac damage.
RUMOR: Survivors with roof damage can get free tarps through Operation Blue Roof.
FACT: The official “Blue Roof” program is not launched but some voluntary organizations are providing tarps for damaged homes. Contact Louisiana 2-1-1 for more information.
More information about this disaster is available online at www.fema.gov/disaster/4080 or www.getagameplan.org .
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 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.