Disaster Recovery Centers


Applying for Disaster Assistance

Registering is a critical first step for receiving assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offer several ways for affected residents and business owners to register:

Note: The toll-free numbers are available daily from 7am-10pm (local time)

Additional information about SBA assistance is available from the SBA Customer Service Center:

When applying, FEMA will ask for the following information:

  • Address of the damaged home or apartment
  • Address where you can get mail
  • Telephone number where FEMA can reach you or leave a message
  • Names of people living in your household
  • Description of your disaster damages
  • Insurance information
  • Social Security Number
  • If you want your disaster assistance funds sent directly to your bank, provide FEMA agent your bank account type, account number and routing number
  • When you apply, you will be given a FEMA application number. Write down your application number and save it for future reference. You will need the application number whenever you contact FEMA.

Insurance is essential in any recovery process.  If you’ve been affected by the disaster, make sure you call your insurance company and file a claim.
Only damages not covered by insurance can qualify for FEMA disaster assistance.  By law FEMA cannot duplicate benefits.

Grant Information

Individual Assistance is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to individuals and families who have sustained losses due to disasters.

All 12 counties requested by Gov. Tomblin for Individual Assistance have been granted that status: Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, and Webster.

Some details regarding Individual Assistance:

  • Homeowners and renters in designated counties who sustained damage to their homes, vehicles and personal property as a result of the recent storms may apply for disaster assistance.
  • Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses, and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other serious disaster-related expenses.
  • Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps and several other programs.

Affected renters are eligible for FEMA grants to help with such related expenses as:
  • Renting a new place to live when the renter’s previous home was lost due to the disaster
  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses.
  • Replacing or repairing lost or damaged personal property including appliances and furniture, textbooks and computers used by students, and work equipment or tools used by the self-employed.
  • Replacing or repairing damaged vehicles.
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.

FEMA grants are not loans and do not have to be repaid. They are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, SNAP benefits and several other programs.

Grants are available to aid the repair of damaged privately owned access roads and bridges, through FEMA’s Individuals and Households program, if:

  • The survivor meets all basic eligibility criteria for the Individuals and Households Program assistance and;
  • The survivor is the homeowner, and the home is their primary residence.
  • The survivor meets at least one additional requirement:
     The road/bridge is the only access to the property
     The home cannot be accessed due to damaged infrastructure
     The safety of the occupants could be adversely affected because emergency services vehicles, such as ambulances or fire trucks, could not reach the residence. However, this will only be considered if access was available prior to the disaster.

Public Assistance can reimburse the costs for emergency protective measures, debris removal, and infrastructure repairs or replacement needed due to disaster-related damage. Elevent counties have been granted Public Assistance: Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers, and Webster.

The following categories for assistance have been approved for these 11 counties: Debris removal; emergency protective measures; roads and bridges; water control facilities; public buildings and contents;public utilities; parks, recreational, and other facilities. Lincoln County has also been granted emergency protective measure assistance.

Some details regarding Public Assistance:
  • FEMA will provide reimbursement of at least 75 percent of eligible costs, with the state and local governments sharing the remaining 25 percent of costs. Eligible entities include state governments, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations, such as schools and public utility districts.
  • Although funds are awarded to government entities and certain private nonprofits, the Public Assistance program is intended to benefit everyone — neighborhoods, cities, counties and states. Public Assistance dollars help clean up disaster-related debris, repair roads and bridges and put utilities and water systems back in order.

FEMA has posted detailed information about its available assistance:www.fema.gov/disaster/4273.

Loan Information

Assistance from FEMA may not cover all damage or property loss. The SBA loan application, however, may make FEMA assistance available to replace essential household items, replace or repair a damaged vehicle, or pay storage costs. It is critical that the SBA loan application be completed and returned before further FEMA assistance may be considered.

SBA provides low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes (including landlords) and to homeowners, renters and eligible private nonprofit organizations that sustained disaster damage or losses. There is no cost to apply for a loan.

SBA Physical Property Damage Loans allow businesses and private nonprofit organizations to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. This assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

The deadline to file applications for Physical Property Damage Loans is Aug. 24, 2016.

The deadline to submit Economic Injury Disaster Loans applications is March 27, 2017.

Assistance at Disaster Recovery Centers

Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) offer one-on-one, face-to-face help and provide useful information for recovery assistance.

Representatives from FEMA and SBA staff the centers, giving affected residents and business owners a chance to discover what programs are available to help them and to get their questions answered.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has assigned state agencies that can assist affected residents and businesses to DRCs in partnership with FEMA. Participating agencies and topics of assistance include:

  • Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR): Aid with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; vital statistics records (birth certificates, etc.).
  • Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV): driver’s licenses, vehicle titles.
  • Tax Department: individual and business forms and documents.
  • Insurance Commissioner: claims and related questions.
  • West Virginia Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (WVVOAD): volunteer efforts, private bridges.
  • West Virginia University College of Law: law student volunteers will offer help on the completion of FEMA and state agency forms, and providing advice on how to obtain legal services.

Click here for information about Disaster Recovery Centers.

For information on FEMA’s role in West Virginia’s disaster recovery:


Help WV Flood Relief
Find Disaster Recovery Centers
Find Recovery Assistance
© David T. Stephenson. 2016 No use without permission

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