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12.1.4.1.3 Applying and deadlines

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Generally, people must apply as soon as possible within sixty days for FEMA assistance either by calling 800-621-FEMA (6632) (TTY: 800-462-7585) or by submitting an online application at www.disasterassistance.gov. Depending on the type of disaster, FEMA may set up disaster recovery centers throughout the affected area and people can apply for FEMA assistance in-person. The sixty-day deadline may be extended several times by FEMA, and generally notices of extension are published in the Federal Register.61

Clients should be encouraged to apply for FEMA assistance; they can decline the offered assistance if they do not need it. Even if a client does not require financial aid from FEMA immediately after the disaster, or does not think they will, the application registration number itself is often necessary for yet-to-be-announced assistance in the future. Many federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds that provide money for home rebuilding will require a FEMA application number as a mandatory eligibility factor. State and local programs that provide funds for mortgage or rent assistance, replacement of appliances, and other necessities also may require a FEMA application number. This can be important because even if a person was not directly affected by the disaster initially, the person may later need disaster unemployment assistance or other disaster-specific financial assistance. The FEMA registration number may be required to qualify.

Footnotes

  • 61 44 U.S.C. § 1505(b); 44 C.F.R. § 206.112(a), (b).