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September 27, 2020
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Applying for FEMA disaster assistance

August 28, 2020

If you were impacted by the on-going wildfires in Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties, you may be eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Grants may help eligible survivors with financial assistance that include rent, home repair, home replacement and other disaster-related needs such as childcare, medical and dental expenses.

Before you apply, contact your insurance company and file a claim for the disaster-caused damage. Take photographs or video of the damage and keep all receipts related to home repair.

If you have uninsured or underinsured losses, contact FEMA online at , download the FEMA app and register on your smartphone or tablet, or call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

Be prepared with 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 to your bank account)

After registering, create an account to check the status of your application, view messages from FEMA, update your personal information, and upload important documents.

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.

If you have any questions, you please contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). For TTY call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), please call 800-621-3362.

Inspections

During COVID-19, inspections will be conducted by phone. Remote inspections are comparable to traditional, in-person inspections and can expedite recovery assistance, based on eligibility. For security purposes, the inspector will verify your identity by asking a series of qualifying questions and then provide you with the first four digits of your application to complete the verification.

If you reported that you cannot safely live in your home, a FEMA inspector will contact you by phone and ask about the type and extent of damage sustained. Survivors with minimal damage who can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection when applying to FEMA, but they still may request an inspection.

Remote inspections have no impact on the types of Other Needs Assistance available that do not require an inspection, including grants for childcare, transportation, medical, dental, funeral expenses, moving and storage assistance.

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help homeowners and renters. Customer service representatives are available to assist business owners and individuals to 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 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. or call (916) 735-1500. 

These services are only available for the California disaster declaration as a result of the wildfires that began Aug. 14, 2020 and not for COVID-19-related assistance.