Frequently Asked Questions

How can I follow up on my FEMA application?
Contact FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362.   You can also check the status of your application online by visiting www.FEMA.gov.  Click on “Online Individual Assistance Center.” Additionally, you can visit a local Disaster Recovery Center in person.

What are some common reasons for denial of coverage?

  • FEMA may deny coverage for any of the following reasons:
  • Your damages are mostly covered by insurance;
  • Your damages could be covered by an SBA loan or other source;
  • You were required by law to have flood insurance but failed to maintain such insurance;
  • Another member of your household has already applied for/ received the benefits;
  • There was not enough damage to your home/property to qualify;
  • Insufficient information was provided to prove damages were caused by the disaster;
  • The home is not your primary residence; or
  • You are not a legal resident of the US.

I disagree with a decision made by FEMA.  What can I do?
If you do not agree with FEMA’s decision, you have the right to appeal it.  You can appeal any decision made by FEMA including decisions regarding eligibility for FEMA assistance, the amount and/or type of assistance you are eligible for, and decisions regarding late applications or requests to return money.  FEMA should include information about filing an appeal in the letter they sent informing you of their decision with respect to any of these matters.

Does FEMA cover damages to a secondary or vacation home?
FEMA does not cover damages to secondary and/or vacation homes.  If you own a secondary home that a family member rents or occupies, however, you may be eligible for loan assistance from the Small Business Administration.

Am I eligible for assistance in replacing lost food from our freezers and refrigerators?
FEMA does not cover food losses. Local voluntary organizations, however, may be able to help you.

Can FEMA help with debris removal?
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover debris removal.  FEMA does not usually pay for debris removal on private property.  If, however, the debris is keeping you from safely getting to your home, FEMA may be able to provide assistance.

Am I eligible for assistance if I rented/purchased a generator to help restore power to my home?
FEMA will review requests for reimbursement for the cost of a generator on a case-by-case basis.  If FEMA determines that you purchased a generator to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury, or adverse condition, you may be eligible for reimbursement.  Typically, FEMA will pay for a generator only if: (1) it was purchased after the State of Emergency was declared and it was purchased for documented medical reasons (appropriate supporting documentation will need to be provided); or (2) it was owned prior to the disaster and an inspection verifies that the generator was damaged.  The maximum eligible reimbursable amount is based on a determination of the median cost of a generator sufficient to power an average-sized home. You will not be eligible for reimbursement if you purchased the generator after your power was restored.

I have insurance but the settlement I received from my insurance company does not cover my losses.  What should I do?
If the settlement you receive from your insurance company does not cover your losses, you should first review your policy with an attorney.  If, after reviewing the policy, you believe your insurance company made a mistake, you should contest the settlement with your insurance company.  If, after contesting the settlement, you still have serious unmet needs, FEMA and other agencies may be able to help by covering those losses that are uninsured and otherwise eligible.  You should write a letter to FEMA explaining the situation and including a copy of the settlement or denial letter from your insurance company.

Does FEMA cover insurance deductibles?
FEMA does not cover insurance deductibles.  You may, however, be eligible for assistance from FEMA if your insurance settlement is not enough to cover your losses.

The insurance company told me it could take weeks before they come to my house to inspect the damage.  What am I supposed to do in the meantime?
If a decision on your insurance settlement has been delayed longer than 30 days from the time you filed the claim, FEMA may provide your with an insurance advancement loan.  Once you receive you settlement from the insurance company, you must repay the loan to FEMA.

I have not been able to work since Hurricane Sandy hit.  I still have my job, but have not been getting paid.  What should I do?
Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to persons (including self-employed individuals) who are unemployed as a direct result of the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.   The DUA program covers most people affected by a disaster, including many who do not normally qualify for regular unemployment insurance. To determine whether or not you are eligible, you should file for benefits by calling a New Jersey Reemployment Call Center at:

Reemployment Call Centers

Union City:        (201) 601-4100
Freehold:        (732) 761-2020
Cumberland:    (856) 507-2340
Out of State:        (888) 795-6672

Do I have to repay disaster help received from FEMA or the SBA?
You do not have to repay a grant received FEMA under the Individual and Households Program.  You do, however, have to repay any loans received from the Small Business Administration.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. [ Sitemap ] © Copyright Randolph H. Wolf, Esq