Thursday, February 14, 2008

Important information about FEMA claims

In previous postings, we have provided instructions about how students can file a claim with FEMA. Unfortunately, the procedures we have provided have resulted in difficulty for many students, whose claims have automatically been rejected because the FEMA computer system recognized all Union addresses as the same individual.

We believe the problem has now been resolved, and students may try again to file their claim at

IMPORTANT: When filing your claim IT IS IMPERATIVE that in addition to the Union street address, students list as their address their Union University post office box, as well as their specific dorm room number. YOU MUST PROVIDE NOT ONLY YOUR DORM ROOM NUMBER, BUT YOUR SPECIFIC BEDROOM IDENTIFICATION AS WELL (such as Barton 7B or Lovelace 3A).

In filing their claims, students may claim only essentials for living and education -- such as clothing, computers, books, toiletries, etc. Items such as iPods or jewelry cannot be claimed.

Cars may be claimed, up to a maximum of $6,500, as long as the car's title is in the student's name. If the title is in their parents' name, the parents must file a separate claim.

Also, students should only file claims if their losses are more than $60. FEMA WILL NOT WRITE CHECKS FOR LESS THAN $60.

Once a claim has been filed at the FEMA Web site, a student will receive an ID number. Once they get their ID number, they must go to the FEMA office at 375 Vann Drive for an interview.

The interview will result in either a "yes" or a "no" for a follow-up by FEMA. If students receive a "yes," a FEMA inspector will come and examine their damaged possessions. The inspector will then file a claim, and students should get their checks by the end of the spring semester. The deadline for filing a FEMA claim is 60 days after Feb. 5.

Faculty and staff can qualify for a FEMA claim if they can show that the damaged items in their offices were essential for living.

THIS IS A LENGTHY PROCESS. Please do not get frustrated and give up. Expect to try two or three times before getting approval for your claim. You will most likely qualify for some reimbursement, so it is probably worth your time to see this process through.

If you have questions, call FEMA at (800) 621-3362.