If You Didn’t Register with FEMA, You Didn’t Register

November 14, 2016  //  

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — If you are among the thousands of Virginians who have registered for disaster assistance since Hurricane Matthew struck the Commonwealth, and you didn’t register directly with FEMA, you didn’t register.

Registering with your city’s emergency management agency, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the Red Cross, with any other charitable organization, or having FEMA flood insurance is NOT the same as registering with FEMA.

You still need to register with FEMA before it’s too late. The deadline is January 3, 2017.

After you have registered, if you receive a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application, officials urge you to fill it out and return it to the SBA—even if you do not want a loan. If you do not qualify for the SBA loan, your application can trigger other types of assistance, allowing the SBA to refer you back to FEMA.

You do not have to accept the SBA loan, but sometimes-unanticipated needs arise so having the loan in your ‘back pocket’ can make a difference.

FEMA and the SBA offer a variety of programs to help in your recovery. FEMA grants will not affect your government benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid and you will not pay additional income taxes or see any reduction in your Social Security checks or any other federal benefits.

VDEM and FEMA are working closely with other commonwealth and federal partners, the private sector, faith-based organizations, and voluntary agencies to help match survivors with avenues of assistance. Two common misconceptions regarding registering with FEMA are:

  1. Registering for disaster assistance with other agencies or organizations registers you for FEMA disaster assistance.  It does not.
  2. Having FEMA flood insurance registers you for disaster assistance. It does not. It also does not disqualify you from applying for assistance. Flood insurance claims are handled separately and you may find that you had uninsured losses.

If you haven’t registered because English is not your first language, don’t let that stop you.  If you or someone you know needs language assistance, FEMA has interpreters who speak many languages. Translators are available and can help you in the registration process.

Also know that you may apply if you are a non-citizen national with a Social Security number or a qualified alien who holds permanent residency, refugee, or asylum status. If you are the parent of a U.S. citizen in your household, you may apply for federal disaster assistance on behalf of your child.

If you are a renter and haven’t registered, know that you too, may be eligible for federal disaster assistance and referrals to Commonwealth agencies that may be able to help.

If you wish to donate, go to the Virginia Relief Fund site at: http://www.vaemergency.gov/get-involved/virginia-disaster-relief-fund/ for a list of approved charitable organizations.

As an applicant, your information is confidential. FEMA does not share your information with other agencies unless you want us to do so.

Additional information about this disaster is available at www.fema.gov and www.vaemergency.gov. Virginians seeking information about disaster-related services and unmet needs should call Virginia 211, a statewide information and referral service. Survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA as soon as possible. You can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov, on the FEMA Mobile App, or by calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA).

Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or video relay service). TTY users can call 800-462-7585.

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and can cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Federal Emergency Management Agency / Virginia Department of Emergency Management

November 14, 2016
DR-4291-VA NR-11
News Desk: 540-686-2972

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund