FEMA Registration FAQs

If you suffered losses in LNU Lightning Complex Fire or Glass Fire and haven’t registered for federal assistance, don’t delay and miss out on the assistance you may be entitled to. Deadlines for registering with FEMA are approaching

Register Now!

FEMA’s Individual Assistance program provides grants to help eligible survivors with financial assistance that may include rent, home repair, home replacement and other disaster-related needs such as childcare, medical and dental expenses.

Disaster-impacted households don’t need to wait for insurance to settle or obtain a contractor’s estimate to apply for federal assistance. This post addresses several commonly asked questions about registering for and receiving disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

How can I register?

There are several ways to register for FEMA before the LNU Lightning Fire deadline of November 23 and the Glass Fire deadline of December 16:

Presbyterian Church St. Helena
(alongside the Local Assistance Center)
1428 Spring St., Helena, CA 94574
 Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More information on the process and next steps is available hereVersion OptionsFEMA Registration FAQsHeadline.


I have insurance/received other assistance. Why should I register for FEMA? 

Registering with FEMA is required for federal aid, even if you have registered with another disaster-relief organization, such as the American Red Cross. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance or other benefits. However, FEMA may be able to help with uninsured or underinsured losses if the insurance settlement is delayed more than 30 days. FEMA may also be able to help:

  • If you have received the settlement from the insurance company but you still have unmet needs.
  • If you have exhausted the settlement for Additional Living Expenses (ALE for loss of use) and you need disaster-related temporary housing.
  • If your settlement does not cover disaster-related needs such as medical, dental and funeral costs, emergency home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
  • If your settlement has been delayed longer than 30 days, you may write FEMA to explain your situation. Provide insurance documentation to prove you’ve submitted your claim, including the claim number, the date you applied and how long you estimate it will take for the company to settle, and fax your letter to 800-827-8112 or mail it to:

FEMA - Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
 Hyattsville, MD 20782-70155

It may also be useful to register with FEMA if your well or septic system was damaged in the fires as most homeowner policies don’t cover them. Homeowners in Napa County may be eligible for grant funding to pump septic tanks, perform required repairs or replace the system as needed. Damaged private wells that are the sole source of water for the home and need to be repaired or decontaminated are also potentially eligible.

More information from FEMA on this topic is available here

 

What do I need to register for FEMA?

 

To register you will need the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Insurance policy information
  • Address of the damaged primary dwelling
  • A description of disaster-caused damage and losses
  • Current mailing address
  • Current telephone number
  • Total household annual income
  • Routing and account number of your checking or savings account (for direct transfer of funds to your bank account)

 

After you register online or with the FEMA app, you can create your own account. This will enable you to check the status of your application, view messages from FEMA, update your personal information and upload documents that may be necessary to determine your eligibility for aid..

 

If you are unable to upload your documents, mail them to FEMA:

FEMA - Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
 Hyattsville, MD 20782-70155

 

Or fax them to 800-827-8112.

 

 

How do I check the status of my application for FEMA assistance?

To check the status of your application you need to create an account first.

To create an account:

  1. Click Check Your Status on the Home page or from the Get Assistance tab.
  2. Click Create Account.

Detailed instructions can be found under How do I create an account?

If you already have an account:

  1. At disasterassistance.gov, click Check Your Status on the Home page or from the Get Assistance tab.
  2. Log in with your user ID, password and PIN to get Your Application Status page.

You must have an email address to create the account. This is the only way we can send a PIN to you, and you need the PIN to access your account.

If you don’t know if you finished your application, call the FEMA Helpline, 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. PST, 7 days a week:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • 711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362

I registered for FEMA, but haven’t heard anything back.

Check the status of your FEMA application by following the instructions above or call the FEMA Helpline, 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. PST, 7 days a week:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • 711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362

It is important to make sure your contact information is up to date to ensure the disaster assistance process stays on track. There are four ways to ensure your contact information is up to date: 

Presbyterian Church St. Helena
(alongside the Local Assistance Center)
1428 Spring St., Helena, CA 94574
 Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

More information on the process and next steps after registering for FEMA is available here

 

 

FEMA says they need to do a remote inspection of my property. What does that mean? 

FEMA requires a home inspection before the agency will make monetary awards to help survivors with costs to repair or replace homes damaged during a major disaster declaration. Until recently, FEMA’s inspectors conducted in-person inspections of properties, but due to COVID-19, FEMA is currently conducting inspections remotely over the phone or video streaming platforms like Zoom or FaceTime. It is important to schedule this remote home inspection, if contacted by FEMA. The remote inspection process is described in this link.  

 

FEMA sent me a letter saying that they cannot refer me to the Individuals and Households Program. Does that mean I was denied FEMA assistance?

Not necessarily. If you received a letter from FEMA that says you’re ineligible for assistance or have not been referred, that’s not the last word. Often, applicants need only to submit extra documents for FEMA to process their application or to change FEMA’s decision. It is important to review letters from FEMA carefully, as a “non-referral” letter does not necessarily mean you are ineligible or have been denied assistance—it is often a request for more supporting information. 

 

For questions about a letter from FEMA, call the FEMA Helpline, 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. PST, 7 days a week:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • 711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362

 

More information on this topic from FEMA is available here

 

Everyone has a right to appeal a FEMA ineligibility determination. If you disagree with FEMA’s decision, you can file an appeal by sending an appeal letter with accompanying documents (including proof of disaster losses). Your appeal letter must be postmarked within 60 days of the date on your letter from FEMA regarding your eligibility. More information about common reasons someone may be found ineligible for FEMA Assistance—and how to change that determination when possible—is available here (note: that link references Hurricane Laura in Louisiana, but contains information which is also relevant and applicable to California disaster survivors). 

 

 

How will I know someone is really with FEMA (as opposed to a person trying to commit a fraud or scam)?

It is important to be aware of fraud and scams. FEMA provides some tips to avoid common post-disaster fraud practices here

 

If you suspect fraud, you may call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721

 

I received some assistance from FEMA, but it is not enough/is ending soon. Is there anything I can do? 

Wildfire survivors who received an initial rental assistance award may be eligible for an extension of that after two months but must request it.

Two weeks after a household initially receives rental assistance, FEMA mails them a letter or an application for an extension. Anyone currently receiving temporary housing assistance who has not received a letter or an application and needs to continue that support may request an application for continuation by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.

 

More information on requesting an extension of FEMA rental assistance is available here

 

If you feel the amount or type of assistance FEMA has provided is incorrect, you have a right to file an appeal. Your appeal letter with accompanying documents must be postmarked within 60 days of the date on your letter from FEMA regarding your eligibility. More information about common reasons someone may be found ineligible for FEMA Assistance—and how to change that determination when possible—is available here (note: that link references Hurricane Laura in Louisiana, but contains information which is also relevant and applicable to California disaster survivors).

 

Disaster survivors can visit the Local Assistance Center for more information on other resources and assistance. 

 

 

Is there anyone else who can help me with my FEMA application?  

In addition to calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m, disaster survivors can also receive free legal services (and help securing FEMA and other government benefits) by calling the disaster legal services hotline at 888-382-3406. English- and-Spanish speaking attorneys are available. This program is a partnership between FEMA and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.