Register with FEMA even if…

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Since before Hurricane Isaac barreled ashore, state and voluntary agencies, and community- and faith-based groups have been working hand in hand with Louisianians to help meet their needs - and some may have asked folks to sign up with them.

But the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reminding survivors that they must also register with FEMA if they are seeking federal disaster grants or loans.

"We often find that folks think they are registered with FEMA after they have contacted their parish emergency managers, disaster-relief organizations, or local community- or faith-based organizations, but they are not," said Mike Hall, FEMA's federal coordinating officer. "The only way we can get federal assistance to eligible survivors is if they are registered with FEMA."

That means register with FEMA even if you have contacted Louisiana 2-1-1, the American Red Cross or any other agency or local organization. Only a FEMA registration will open the way for possible federal grants and loans.

"Survivors also sometimes mistakenly think they are not eligible for federal or state assistance, but when we review their applications we find they are," Hall said. "That's why it's so important that they register."

That means register with FEMA, even if

  • … you have insurance. FEMA may be able to provide additional assistance or help with other needs not covered by insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but underinsured applicants may receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.
  • … your home is still inaccessible, or you are waiting to see if your home was damaged. Go ahead and register so we get you on our list. If a housing inspection is warranted, we'll get an inspector out there as soon as possible.
  • … you are a renter. Renters may be eligible for temporary housing or other needs assistance.
  • … you think you may not be eligible. Let our professionals work with you to help determine whether FEMA might be able to provide some form of assistance.
  • … you only had minor damage. It's hard to know the full extent of the damage in the early days. Go ahead and register.

Registration is easy through any of FEMA's three registration portals: Online at or with a smartphone. Specialists are also standing by at our toll-free registration helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Folks who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362.

Survivors can also visit any one of the 12 Disaster Recovery Centers now open in many of the disaster-designated parishes. Locations are available at

Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help pay for temporary housing and emergency home repairs to make a home habitable. Survivors could also be eligible for grants for serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click or You can follow FEMA on Twitter at or on Facebook at Also visit our blog at