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Registration is a Critical Step in Disaster Recovery

The following is a news release from FEMA outlining the process for applying for assistance:

RALEIGH, N.C.– Disaster recovery can be a lengthy process but a critical first step is applying for assistance. Take charge of your recovery by registering for disaster assistance, filing insurance claims, cleaning up your property, and keeping all receipts. Staying in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after you register is important too.

Register by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585,or by visitingwww.disasterassistance.gov. FEMA Helpline hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, seven days a week until further notice. If you have a smartphone, you can register atm.fema.gov.

FEMA will assign an inspector to assess damages to your home. The inspector will make an appointment to meet with you. At the appointment, you will need to provide a photo ID and verify your name, address, and the FEMA registration number you received when you registered. Inspectors are independent contractors with FEMA identification. Ask to see the inspector’s identification. There is no charge for the inspection.

Call your insurance company and file your insurance claims promptly. Document damage as thoroughly as possible, including taking photographs. Don’t forget to provide FEMA with documentation from your insurance company about your claim. FEMA may be able to provide assistance with temporary housing assistance, uninsured personal property looses, and medical, dental and funeral expense caused by the disaster, along with other disaster-related expenses and serious needs. FEMA cannot duplicate money received from insurance or other sources.

Clean up – carefully. There is no need to wait for a visit from the inspectors to clean storm-damaged property. For tips on cleanup, visit www.disasterassistance.gov.Also, local building departments may require permits and further inspections.

Stay in touch. FEMA needs to be able to contact you, so updating your contact information is important if you move or change phone numbers. If you have questions about correspondence from FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or about the status of your application, contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585.You can also visit a Disaster Recovery Center and speak to representatives of FEMA, SBA and other agencies between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. at one of the following locations:

Bertie County, Colerain Community Building, 106 W. Academy St., Colerain, NC 27924

Cumberland County, Department of Social Services, 1st Floor Conference Room D, 1225 Ramsey St., Fayetteville, NC 28301

Lee County, McSwain Agricultural Center, 2420 Tramway Road, Sanford, NC 27332

Johnston County, The Herald Building, 125 S. 4th St., Smithfield, NC 27577

Wake County, Chavis Heights Community Center, 505 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Raleigh, NC 27601

Bladen County, Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center, 450 Smith Circle, Elizabethtown, NC 28337

Harnett County, East Pointe Village Shopping Center, 1165 E. Cumberland St., Suite 106, Dunn, NC 28334

Other centers will open soon in counties designated for assistance.

If you receive an SBA low-interest disaster loan application, you must complete and return it to be considered for some FEMA grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. No one is obligated to accept an SBA loan. However, the SBA application opens the door to other possible forms of assistance.

Document expenditures. Disaster assistance must be spent according to the guidelines outlined in FEMA’s letter to you. You may be asked to prove how disaster assistance was spent to meet disaster-related needs, so keep all bills and receipts for three years.

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.

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.