FEMA Rules Aim to Cut Red Tape

Hurricane Ian Damage

Source:  Federal Emergency Management Agency

Under previous rules, homeowners who had received payments from their insurance company for home repairs but not enough to cover all of the damage were essentially out of luck when it came to getting help from FEMA. Now those homeowners can apply to FEMA for help. Example:  A homeowner who has $80,000 in damage but receives only $45,000 from the insurance company. Previously, FEMA couldn’t help them because their insurance payout already exceeded the agency’s assistance cap of $42,500 per disaster. Now, that homeowner can get money from the agency to make up the difference.   Changes go into effect this March.GETTING RID OF THE LOAN RULEUnder previous rules, disaster survivors first had to apply for a loan with the Small Business Administration and get rejected before they could apply for FEMA assistance.  Owners found the SBA application requirement confusing and challenging, so the agency is eliminating that requirement.FEMA is creating a new category of aid called displacement assistance, designed to help those who can’t return to their home. It gives them money for housing while they’re looking for a long-term rental and has flexibility so that they can, for example, use the money to pay a friend’s utilities while they are staying. 

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