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What You Can Do If You're Having Trouble Getting Through

First, if you have immediate emergency needs for food, clothing, shelter, or medical care contact one of the local offices of the American Red Cross. You can visit a local office or call their toll-free number at 1 (866) 438-GET-INFO or 1 (866) 438-4636. Please understand that the Red Cross may be experiencing similar problems in answering all their calls.

If you can, register or check the status of your application online.

Registering online is one of the best methods to complete an application and avoid busy signals on the telephone. If information is gathered prior to starting the application, the process should take approximately 20 minutes.

If someone does not have access to a computer where they are currently sheltered or housed they can:

Please note: The Internet application expires after 30 minutes as a security precaution, and information entered will be lost if applicants do not complete the process within this time period. We strongly encourage you to have information you need to apply ready before starting the process.

All you need to do to check the status of your application online is to login to the Disaster Assistance website. Use the pin and password that was created when you registered. If you registered by phone, you can easily create an account to check the status of your application online.

Those who encounter difficulties while registering online can call the FEMA Technical Helpdesk toll-free 1-800-745-0243, during regular telephone registration hours. This number is for technical assistance only

If you are registering or checking the status of your application by phone:

If you get a busy signal, try to call in the evening after 6:00 p.m. or on the weekends when call volumes tend to be lighter.

If your damages are not severe:

If your damages are not severe and you are able to start the cleanup process on your own, please consider waiting a few days before you call FEMA. That way, the telephone lines will remain open so that people with more urgent problems can call. Be assured that FEMA and the other government agencies providing disaster aid will be in the area for as long as it takes to meet everyone's need.

Remember that it is not necessary to delay cleanup until an inspector sees your damaged property. We suggest you take pictures and save receipts in case there is any question about your damages later.

Finally, collect all the information you need to apply for aid so when you do call 1-800-621-FEMA, your application can be taken quickly and is complete.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 31-Dec-2008 06:58:14 EST