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FEMA offers disaster recovery centers

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has opened multiple disaster recovery centers throughout the state to help Tennesseans recover from the March 3 tornadoes and severe storms.

As of March 12, households in Davidson, Putnam and Wilson counties have been approved for more than $765,000 in assistance for disaster expenses not covered by insurance to help pay for basic home repairs, temporary rental assistance and other needs such as replacing personal property. This includes more than $593,000 for housing expenses and more than $172,000 for other disaster-relation needs.

FEMA has also opened a mobile registration intake center in Lebanon that will assist survivors of the tornadoes and severe storms to register for federal disaster assistance.

The center is located at the Gentry Building (log cabin) at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, 945 E. Baddour Parkway, Lebanon. FEMA Individual Assistance specialists will be on hand to help survivors register as well as look up submitted applications to see where they are in the process. They can also apply for home loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) there as well.

Survivors may be eligible for up to three types of grant assistance available through FEMA: rental assistance to those who have been displaced, grant money for limited home repair, and replacement of some personal property.

FEMA urges disaster survivors to file a claim with their insurance company first, as FEMA cannot duplicate services provided by insurance.

Disaster survivors with uninsured or underinsured losses can also apply for FEMA assistance by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov, downloading the FEMA app, or by calling 800-624-3362.

FEMA is also warning about potential identity thefts in the wake up the destruction. They are aware of several cases of reported identity theft involving survivors and are cooperating in the investigation. Some disaster survivors who tried to register with FEMA discovered someone had already registered using their name.

After a disaster, fraud can be a problem. Scammers may contact survivors who have not registered with FEMA and try to extract money or information. When this happens, FEMA said, it is likely the survivor’s personal data has been compromised.

If you suspect your personal information has been compromised, call FEMA at 800-621-3362. FEMA reminds survivors:

  • If you want to verify any correspondence from FEMA or SBA, visit a Disaster Recovery Center to verify the letter’s authenticity. For center locations and hours, go to fema.gov/drc.
  • FEMA and SBA never charge for registration, home inspections, grants, disaster-loan applications or anything else.
  • In person, ask to see a photo ID from a government agency.
  • If you suspect fraud, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report it to your local police department.

FEMA also recommends you monitor your credit report for any accounts or changes you do not recognize. If you discover someone is using your information, you will need to take additional steps, including filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through its website at IdentityTheft.gov.

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