Spend your FEMA award wisely

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

As eligible Mississippians begin to receive federal assistance, FEMA urges applicants to use the money for disaster-related expenses only as allowed.

FEMA will send you a notification letter informing you of the types of assistance you are eligible to receive, and the amounts of assistance FEMA is providing for each eligible need. These may include: home repairs (e.g., structure, water, septic and sewage systems), rental assistance for a different place to live temporarily, repair or replacement of a damaged primary vehicle, uninsured out-of-pocket medical expenses for an injury caused by the disaster, repair or replacement of occupational specialized tools, essential educational materials (e.g., computers, schoolbooks, supplies) and moving and storage expenses related to the disaster.

“You must spend your FEMA award only in ways that help you make your home safe, sanitary, and fit to live in,” said Jefferson Davis County Emergency Management Director Jocelyn Ragsdale.  “Be sure to document how you used disaster funds and keep all receipts for at least three years for verification of what the money was used for.”

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Disaster grants are not for regular living expenses, such as utilities, food, medical or dental bills, travel, entertainment or any discretionary expenses not directly related to the disaster.

“If you spend the payment on anything other than it’s intended purpose, you may be denied assistance in the future.” In some cases, FEMA will ask that the money be returned.

Federal law also prohibits duplicating assistance from other sources.

If you have not yet applied for FEMA help, please do so before the deadline of Dec. 22 by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362, or by using the FEMA mobile app. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Operators are on duty seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST.

For the latest on the recovery effort following Hurricane Ida, please visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4626. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion4 and www.facebook.com/fema.