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FEMA providing aid for Debby damages; Recipients under code of honor

Posted On Tue, August 7, 2012

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been providing aid for damaged homes and businesses along the gulf coast - under the condition that the aid is used exclusively to cover storm-related expenses.

Over the weekend, FEMA was stationed at Venice City Hall in Venice, Florida, in order to take aid applications from storm victims.  The FEMA aid is meant to ease the cost of the breadth of damages not covered under insurance. Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants, for example, cover disaster-related health and medical expenses outside of those covered under standard health insurance policies. ONA grants are also awarded to those who could not afford rising health insurance rates before the storm, and were uninsured when disaster struck.

Although FEMA reports that the grants will be audited in the coming years, once granted, they are currently not under heavy supervision.

Those seeking FEMA aid must prove that they live in or rent storm-damaged property, and that they have already made a claim with their insurance company. The consumers who have income are directed to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Those who cannot pay the loans are awarded grants on a case-by-case basis.

The next step, according to FEMA, is to spend the grant money wisely. On the FEMA website, the agency cautions that the grant money must be spent only on a pre-approved list of expenses - including medical costs and temporary housing - or grant recipients may be required to return the money.

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