FEMA: Use disaster assistance grants wisely

FEMA: Use disaster assistance grants wisely
Posted at 4:59 AM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 00:11:25-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Federal officials are advising people who received disaster assistance grants to use the funds only for specific related expenses.

The disaster assistance grants were received by some Florida Hurricane Michael survivors in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties.

When the Federal Emergency Management Agency awards a disaster assistance grant, it sends the recipient a notice listing approved uses of the grant. The message pinpoints precisely how the funds can be spent.

Expenses must be directly related to losses, damage, or temporary living expenses caused by Hurricane Michael. Disaster grants may not be used for travel, entertainment or regular living expenses such as utilities, food, medical or dental bills not related to the disaster.

Rental assistance grants are provided for temporary housing when a disaster leaves your home uninhabitable or inaccessible. If you intend to seek continued rental assistance, you’ll need receipts to show you used the grant for rent.

After every major disaster, FEMA may conduct random audits to see how the grants are actually spent and can require repayment if funds were not spent appropriately. Survivors are advised to keep their receipts for three years to document that the money was used on approved disaster-related expenses.

When you hear from FEMA, read the message or letter carefully. If you have any questions, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362; TTY users can call 800-462-7585.

You may also visit one of the 13 disaster recovery centers open in the disaster-designated counties. To find the closest center and hours of operation please call the Helpline or visit