Officials Urge Disaster Survivors To Use Grant Money Wisely

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STATE – Disaster recovery officials urge recipients of federal grants to use the money wisely, and keep receipts and other documentation for at least three years as proof the funds were spent as intended.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said grants are for repairs, temporary housing and other approved disaster-related costs.

Housing funds may be used for:

  • Repairs to return a home to a safe and functional condition.
  • Reimbursement for lodging expenses directly related to the disaster – receipts for these expenses may be requested.
  • Rental assistance – applicants who must remain in temporary housing longer than the initial assistance period may request more assistance until other housing can be found or permanent housing arrangements can be made. They must also turn in proper receipts to receive further assistance.

Recipients of Other Needs Assistance may use the funds for:

  • Personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items, appliances, and vehicle repair or replacement.
  • Medical, dental and funeral expenses and moving expenses.

Grant recipients are required to sign a declaration and a release certifying all funds will be spent on the expenses for which they are intended.

New Jersey residents are urged to call the FEMA Helpline if they have questions about how funds are to be used.

Applicants should also update addresses and phone numbers by calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for persons with speech or hearing disabilities, or online at or Without correct contact information, applicants may miss important correspondence or phone calls regarding their payments or applications for assistance.

By law, FEMA grants, which are taxpayer dollars, cannot duplicate payments from other sources. For example, if a grant recipient receives an insurance settlement covering expenses already paid for by FEMA, those duplicated funds must be reimbursed to FEMA. Income is not considered when registering for disaster assistance with FEMA.

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