Federal Disaster Assistance Deadline: June 23, 2020
May 29, 2020
FEMA has approved more than $1.14 million in disaster grants for 295 Tennessee homeowners and renters to help recover and rebuild after the April 12-13 tornadoes. The registration deadline is approaching soon, so if you reside in Bradley or Hamilton County and have sustained uninsured / underinsured losses, register with FEMA by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov and Select “Apply Online” or call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY) 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT.
Recovery Update DR 4541 TN
• As hurricane season begins June 1, make sure your family is ready. Make a plan (www.ready.gov/plan). Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. Consider these questions:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
- Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?
• Homeowners and renters in Bradley and Hamilton counties with uninsured losses from the April 12-13 tornadoes have until June 23, 2020 to apply for federal disaster assistance.
• You can register with FEMA in several ways:
- By visiting DisasterAssistance.gov
- Downloading the FEMA App for smartphones
- Calling 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). Multilingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT.
After you register
• After you apply for federal disaster assistance, it is important that FEMA be able to contact you. Be aware that phone calls from FEMA may appear to come from unidentified numbers and make sure that FEMA has your current contact information. FEMA may call to obtain more information for your application or to conduct a remote home inspection in order to be able to continue processing your application.
• Applicants for FEMA assistance will receive a letter from FEMA by mail or email. It is important to read it carefully as it will include the amount of any assistance FEMA may provide to you and information on the appropriate use of disaster assistance funds. You may need to submit additional information for FEMA to continue to process your application.
- Examples of missing documentation may include proof of insurance coverage, settlement of insurance claims, proof of identity, proof of occupancy, proof of ownership, or proof that the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster.
- If you have questions about the letter, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY).
• FEMA disaster grants are not taxable income. Accepting a FEMA grant will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or other federal welfare and entitlement programs.
If you have questions about FEMA assistance:
• You can register, check the status of your application, ask questions about your determination letter and obtain other information by calling the Helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY).
• Survivors are also strongly encouraged to set up a disaster account with FEMA online.
- Go to DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Select “Apply Online” and follow instructions. You will be asked for your Zip Code and connected to Tennessee disaster assistance.
- A PIN will be sent to the email address on file. You can then log into your account.
- Documents can be uploaded in the Upload Center.
As of May 27, 2020:
▪ FEMA has approved more than $1.14 million in disaster grants for 295 Tennessee homeowners and renters who sustained uninsured or underinsured losses from the storms. That total includes:
- More than $881,536 in housing grants to assist people in rebuilding or repairing their homes and to provide the means for a safe place to stay while they consider their long-term housing options.
- More than $260,597 in grants for Other Needs Assistance to survivors.
▪ SBA has approved more than $3.62 million in disaster loans to businesses and households.
FEMA Public Assistance (PA)
• Bradley, Campbell, Hamilton, Marion, Monroe, Polk, Scott, Unicoi and Washington Counties are eligible for Public Assistance to reimburse disaster-related expenses and the repair or rebuilding of critical infrastructure. The State of Tennessee, local governments and certain private nonprofits can request funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance grant program to help pay for debris removal, emergency protective measures and the repair or rebuilding of roads, bridges, water-control facilities, buildings, equipment, utilities, parks and recreation facilities.
• The federal cost share for reimbursed expenses is not less than 75 percent.
• Volunteers and community members should contact their local government for guidance on debris removal processes.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):
Business owners, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help recover from losses not covered by insurance, grants or other services.
•Applicants can apply for a low-interest disaster loan online using SBA’s secure website at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
•Survivors can get more information by calling a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center/Business Recovery Center (VDLOC/BRC) at 571-422-1925, 571-422-6016 or 404-909-1535. Or they may email FOCE-Help@SBA.gov.
•After you apply for disaster assistance from FEMA, you may be referred to SBA. If you are referred to SBA, you should complete an SBA disaster loan application. If your application is approved, you are not obligated to accept an SBA loan. But failure to return the application will disqualify you from other possible FEMA assistance, such as disaster-related car repairs, clothing, household items and other expenses.
The State of Tennessee lists a variety of resources for survivors, including:
• Tennessee Crisis Phone Line: Call 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471) to speak with a trained mentalhealth professional 24 hours a day if you are experiencing a mental health emergency. You can also text TN to 741741.
• Disaster Unemployment Assistance: Workers whose employment in Hamilton and Bradley counties was impacted by the tornadoes can apply online for DUA through www.Jobs4TN.gov. They can also call 844-432-0969 to apply by phone.
• Volunteer: If you live in Tennessee and want to volunteer to help tornado survivors, please visit the Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (TN VOAD), https://tnvoad.shutterfly.com/. If you'd like to volunteer and live outside of Tennessee, please visit the national site for the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, https://www.nvoad.org/
• Avoiding Scams: There is increased risk for scams and fraud after a disaster. Watch out for people asking for upfront fees to help you claim services, benefits or get loans. To report any illegal activity, call 615-741-4737 or go to www.tn.gov/consumer.
• Report Misconduct: The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance licenses many of the professionals who play a role in rebuilding, including contractors, home inspectors and insurance agents. To file a complaint, visit www.tn.gov/commerce.
• Free Legal Assistance: A toll-free legal assistance hotline is available to low-income individuals facing legal issues as a result of the tornadoes at 844-HELP4TN (844-435-7486). Callers should say they are seeking tornado-related legal assistance. Survivors can also go online to ask questions of volunteer attorneys through Tennessee Free Legal Answers service: https://tn.freelegalanswers.org/
• Hiring Contractors: Before hiring a professional such as a contractor, consumers should first verify that the individual is properly licensed to work in Tennessee by visiting www.verify.tn.gov to conduct a license check. Keep a record of your property damage and any repairs made to your property. If you are dealing with a company or person who promises to remove debris from your property, ask them to list the services they will provide in writing. The Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractorscan be reached at 615-741-8307 or online at www.tn.gov/commerce.
For more information on Tennessee recovery, visit the FEMA disaster web page, https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4541 and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency website, https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/tema.html.