Below Congressman Rogers has provided the answers to many frequently asked questions during the disaster recovery process:
How do I apply for disaster relief?
What information do I need to know about FEMA?
What should I expect during the FEMA inspection process?
What can I expect after the FEMA Inspector’s visit?
Who should I contact if I have questions about the progress of my application?
Where are FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers open?
Who should I contact to volunteer goods and services for tornado victims?
What counties are eligible for disaster unemployment insurance?
How can I protect myself against disaster-related fraud?
What happens if I get a letter from FEMA requesting more information?
-How do I apply for disaster relief?
• All storm victims should begin the registration process whether or not their home counties have been designated for federal assistance. These individuals should contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585 for persons with speech or hearing disabilities.
• Additional information about this disaster and required forms to apply for assistance are available at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/.
• In order to apply for individual assistance, an applicant should have on hand his/her social security number, current and pre-disaster address, telephone number to be contacted, insurance information, total household annual income, bank routing and account numbers, and a description of losses that were caused by the disaster. The disaster declaration number is 4057-DR.
• During the recovery process, Rogers reminds storm survivors to document damages storm damage to their property with photographs or videos, if possible, and to maintain a list of any repairs and keep repair receipts. FEMA officials indicate photographs are beneficial when applying for all types of federal emergency aid. Damage should be reported to their county emergency manager. However, survivors must still register with FEMA to be considered for federal disaster assistance.
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-What information do I need to know about FEMA?
• Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are currently contacting disaster applicants in Kentucky counties whose primary home sustained damage from the recent devastating tornadoes and storms.
• Federal assistance to individuals and households may include grants to help pay for rental housing, essential home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
• Inspectors are private contractors who wear official FEMA identification badges. Authorized inspectors will only confirm personal detailed information that has been provided previously during the registration process. They will usually not approach an applicant without prior contact.
• The U.S. Small Business Administration and various insurance companies also have inspectors in the field.
• More disaster specific information can be found on the KYEM website at www.kyem.ky.gov or http://www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm
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-What should I expect during the FEMA inspection process?
• Inspectors Call: After you register – either online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) – you will be assigned a nine-digit application number. An inspector will call to schedule an appointment to visit your damaged property – generally no longer than 10 days after registration.
• Inspector’s Visit: Keep the scheduled appointment to make sure the assistance process moves quickly. Inspectors will review both structural and personal property damage and file a report, but they do not determine eligibility or estimate or determine the value of damage or losses. The inspection typically takes 15 to 45 minutes.
• Make sure that someone who is 18 years or older and lived in the household prior to the disaster is present at the time of the scheduled appointment.
• You will need to provide identification and proof of ownership and occupancy (for homeowners) and occupancy only (for renters) when the inspector arrives.
• Please have the following documents on hand:
o A photo ID to prove identity, such as a driver’s license or passport.
o Proof of occupancy, which may include any one of the following:
- A lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was the primary residence at the time of the disaster
- An employee pay stub and similar documents addressed to the applicant and showing the address of the damaged home
o Proof of ownership, which may include any one of the following:
- Deed showing applicant as the legal owner.
- Title that lists applicant on actual escrow or title document for the purchase of the home; mortgage payment book that names the applicant along with the address of the damaged home.
- Property insurance policy for the damaged home with applicant’s name listed as the insured.
- Tax receipts or a property tax bill that lists the address of the damaged home and the applicant as the responsible party to the assessments.
• Property owners who need to replace a document to prove property ownership should visit their local tax office Property Valuation Administrator. Proof of ownership may avoid long delays in receiving eligible FEMA funds.
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-What can I expect after the FEMA Inspector’s visit?
• After the Inspector’s Visit: You will receive a joint letter from FEMA and the commonwealth containing a decision within 10 days of the inspector’s visit. You may receive a low-interest disaster loan application in the packet from the U.S. Small Business Administration. You do not have to accept a loan. However, completing an SBA application opens the door to other possible forms of assistance.
• If you have any questions about what you receive, you can call the helpline number – 800-621-3362, (TTY 800-462-7585).
• If you are eligible for assistance, the letter will be followed by a check or an electronic funds transfer. The letter explains how the money can be used.
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-Who should I contact if I have questions about the progress of my application?
• You can get answers to questions about the progress of your application by going online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ (anytime).
• Calling 800-621- 3362, TTY 800-462-7585 (These toll-free telephone numbers are staffed daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., until further notice.) Help is available in many languages.
• Using a smartphone or Web-enabled device to visit m.fema.gov.
• Speaking with someone face to face at a disaster recovery center in your area.
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-Where are FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers open?
• For more information, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Helpline assistance is available in many languages. Those who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have a speech disability may use TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call 800-621-3362.
• By computer, go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov. By smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov.
o OET helps individuals prepare for, secure and maintain employment; assists employers in locating and selecting the best-qualified workers for their job openings; and provides income maintenance to ease the financial burden on individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own. For more information about its services, visit http://oet.ky.gov/.
• For more information about current disasters, please go to www.kyem.ky.gov/currentdisasters and www.fema.gov.
• All regular unemployment insurance benefits must be exhausted prior to receiving any disaster unemployment benefits. Applications can be filed at local Kentucky Career Center offices. When filing a claim, self-employed individuals should bring a copy of their income tax return. Other applicants need only a photo-identification card and their Social Security number.
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-How can I protect myself against disaster-related fraud?
• During the disaster relief process, Kentuckians should be on the alert for scam artists who may approach you in person, by telephone or via the Internet.
• Be alert when your doorbell rings: People going door-to-door to damaged homes or calling disaster victims claiming to be building contractors could be frauds. If visitors or callers ask for personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers, or for money, they are not legitimate.
• Federal disaster workers do not ask for accept money: Remember, FEMA and SBA staff members never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or for help in filling out applications. You should report people claiming to be government workers to local police. People going door-to-door to damaged homes or calling disaster victims claiming to be building contractors could be frauds. If visitors or callers ask for personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers, or for money, they are not legitimate.
• FEMA inspectors only verify damage: They do not determine the amount of a federal grant. FEMA inspectors do not hire or endorse specific contractors to repair damage. FEMA inspectors do not hire or endorse specific contractors to repair damage. FEMA inspectors do not hire or endorse specific contractors to repair damage.
• To safeguard against disaster-related fraud, FEMA and Kentucky Emergency Management officials suggest the following precautions:
Ask for official identification: Inspectors sent by FEMA, or verifiers from the SBA, carry official, laminated photo identification. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of someone's affiliation with the government. Applicants may receive a visit from more than one inspector or verifier.
Inspectors sent by FEMA, or verifiers from the SBA, carry official, laminated photo identification. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of someone's affiliation with the government. Applicants may receive a visit from more than one inspector or verifier.
Safeguard personal information: Do not give your Social Security number, bank account or FEMA registration number to individuals claiming to be affiliated with the federal government. FEMA inspectors never require this information. Do not give your Social Security number, bank account or FEMA registration number to individuals claiming to be affiliated with the federal government. FEMA inspectors never require this information.
• If you suspect anyone of committing fraudulent activities, whether it is a contractor, inspector, disaster survivor or someone posing as any of these, call the Disaster Fraud Hotline toll-free at 800-323-8603. Also let your local law enforcement agencies know.
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-What happens if I get a letter from FEMA requesting more information?
- Some Kentucky disaster victims may receive a letter from FEMA which indicates that more information is needed to determine eligibility for FEMA disaster assistance.
- Here are some common reasons why FEMA may need additional information from survivors:
- The applicant did not provide complete insurance information
- The applicant did not provide proof of occupancy or ownership of the damaged property.
- The applicant received a loan application from the SBA and did not complete the application
- The applicant was not available to set up an inspection for the damaged property or was absent when the inspector came to the property
- Essential documents in the applications were not signed by the applicant.
- If you get a letter requesting more information or informing you of a decision you disagree with, FEMA urges you to call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 and to file an appeal.
- Applicants who wish to appeal a decision may do so in writing within 60 days from the date of the decision or date of the determination letter. Guidelines for appeals can be found in the Applicant’s Handbook sent to everyone who registers with FEMA.
- Applicants have up to 12 months from the date they registered with FEMA to submit insurance information for review. FEMA cannot provide money to individuals or households for losses already covered by insurance, but uninsured losses may qualify for a grant.
- Applicants who say their losses are covered by insurance will be sent a “Request for Information” letter which tells the applicant what information FEMA needs to provide additional assistance, and further describes the “Other Needs Assistance” category of help.
- The SBA loan application is important even for those who don’t want a loan. Information in the application can be considered in determining eligibility for other forms of disaster assistance. When the applicant fills out an SBA loan application, he or she is not obligated to take out an SBA loan.
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