Disaster recovery officials remind survivors who may have received FEMA disaster funds that it’s essential to use the money for the intended purpose – disaster-related expenses – and not for household expenses or other expenditures.
FEMA will help by sending a determination letter telling you what the money is being awarded and listing how you can use the money.
How do I know what that purpose is?
Some examples include:
▪ Home repairs (e.g., structure, water, septic, and sewage systems)
▪ Rental assistance for rent and deposit
▪ Repair or replacement of a flooded essential vehicle
▪ Medical or dental care for an uninsured injury caused by the disaster
▪ Repair of specialized occupational tools
▪ Necessary educational materials (e.g., computers, schoolbooks, supplies)
▪ Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster
▪ Increased childcare expenses
Disaster grants are not for regular living expenses.
It’s essential to read the determination letter carefully. If you have spent the payment on anything other than its intended purpose, you may be denied disaster assistance in the future. In some cases, FEMA will ask you to return the money. Receipts for all expenses are required and should be retained for at least three years because disaster funding may be subject to audit.
Also, applicants need to make sure that FEMA has their most up-to-date contact information, including addresses, phone numbers, and bank accounts. If FEMA does not have the correct contact information, survivors may miss letters or phone calls about their application for assistance or payment status.
For any questions, call the FEMA Helpline, 800-621-3362. TTY users can call 800-462-7585.
Fact Sheet 012, April 5, 2021, Learn more at fema.gov April 2021 2
For more information on this topic:
▪ Visit fema.gov/disaster/4586. Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMA Region 6.
▪ People whose first language is not English may find this document’s translations in other languages by using the following quick links on FEMA.gov: Arabic | Chinese | English | Hindi | Japanese | Korean| Russian Spanish | Tagalog | Urdu | Vietnamese.
For concerns and allegations of discrimination, please contact the Office of Equal Rights at headquarters at
202-212-3535 or FEMA-Civil-Rights-Program-OER@fema.dhs.gov.