The registration deadline for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is approaching on Oct. 21. Those who suffered losses or damages to their property as a result of recent area wildfires can be eligible for aid through FEMA and should register at www.disasterassistance.gov.
In San Mateo County, 659 people have received more than $230,000.
FEMA Media Relations Specialist Briana Summer Fenton said affected residents should first file a claim through their insurance, then turn to FEMA for anything that wasn’t covered.
“You should still register even if you have insurance because you may still be eligible for other things,” Fenton said.
More information and steps to apply are available online or through FEMA’s mobile app. Fenton said residents should be prepared to give personal information like a Social Security number and information about damage. Taking photos and keeping records is critical. Residents without a Social Security number can apply for assistance on behalf of an under-18 child with citizenship. Or if another member of the household has an SSN, they should apply on behalf of the household.
After registering with FEMA, wildfire survivors can expect calls and an eventual inspection, which will be conducted via phone because of COVID-19 restrictions. Fenton said the maximum amount of relief available through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, which can go to temporary housing, home repair, funds for medical care or replacement of property, is $35,500.
Applicants will receive a determination letter that outlines if the claim was approved, how much money was granted and what it should be used for. Each decision is appealable — and Fenton said FEMA will continue to follow up for 7 years to help residents recover.
“It’s a marathon of a process,” Fenton said. “We just want to help get survivors back on their feet again.”