SACRAMENTO – Individuals and households with losses due to August/September wildfires in Butte, Lake, Lassen, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Tulare, and Yolo counties have two weeks or less remaining to apply for grants from FEMA or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The deadline is Nov. 21.
FEMA awards help eligible survivors pay for rent, home repair/replacement, and many other serious disaster-related needs, including replacement or repair of vehicles, funeral expenses, medical or dental expenses, and miscellaneous other costs. To be reimbursed by FEMA, survivors should photograph the damage and save receipts for repair work.
Survivors should contact their insurers and file a claim for the disaster-caused damage before they register with FEMA. Anyone with insurance should register with FEMA even if they aren’t yet certain whether they will be eligible. FEMA may be able to help with costs that insurance doesn’t cover.
The agency can determine eligibility once an applicant’s insurance claim is settled—but there won’t be any FEMA reimbursement for those who fail to register by the Nov. 21 deadline for those who suffered losses in fires including the CZU Lightning Complex, SCU Lighting Complex, August Complex Fire, LNU Lightning Complex, North Complex, Sheep, Dolan and SQF Complex.
There are three ways for survivors to register: online at DisasterAssistance.gov, with the FEMA Mobile App on a smartphone or tablet, or by or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. PST. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, should provide FEMA with the specific number assigned to that service when they register. Multilingual services are available on the helpline and specialists can answer most questions about FEMA assistance and registration.
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 at P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-8055 or fax them to 800-827-8112.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Nov. 21 is also the deadline to apply for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Grants from FEMA are meant to give eligible survivors a start on their road to recovery. However, the primary source of recovery funding for businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters is U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans. When disaster survivors need to borrow to repair or replace damaged property, the low-interest rates, and long terms (up to 30 years) available from SBA make recovery affordable. In some cases, refinancing of prior liens is available. A disaster loss is unexpected. For most disaster survivors, it is beyond their means to pay for disaster damages from their own resources without significant hardship.
You can find out more by contacting the SBA’s Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center. Customer service representatives are available to assist individuals and business owners, answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process, and help each person complete their electronic loan application.
Virtual Business Recovery Center and Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Mondays – Fridays
5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST