Vendor Newsmaker Q&A: W. Craig Fugate

Jan. 1, 2020
Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, W. Craig Fugate is the chief administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Although the super storm has long since dissipated, the impact of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath continues to inflict business losses and personal turmoil.

Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 after previously serving as director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management for eight years, W. Craig Fugate is the chief administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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“FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards,” he says.

Fugate reports that the agency “continues to lead the federal government’s effort to provide assistance and support to states affected by Hurricane Sandy, ensuring the ‘federal family’ and its public and private partners continue to provide all available resources to support state, local and tribal communities in affected areas.”

There are currently 70 types of assistance programs available from 17 federal agencies; private charitable organizations are offering aid alternatives as well.

Under Fugate’s direction, his staff has prepared a series of questions and answers related to obtaining assistance if you have been victimized by Sandy – or any another disaster:

Where can I have my immediate needs met?

If you have immediate needs, you may want to contact the American Red Cross at 800-REDCROSS (800-733-2767) or the United Way by dialing 211 from a landline phone.

How do I register for disaster assistance?

FEMA encourages all individuals who have damages or have had to evacuate because of a federally declared disaster to apply for disaster assistance. There are three ways to register for FEMA/state assistance: You may register online at or all the toll-free registration number at 800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

If Disaster Recovery Centers have been established in your area, they can assist you in the registration process by contacting them at have been established in your area, they can assist you in the registration process at

What can I do at provides information on how you might be able to get help from the U.S. Government before, during and after a disaster in both Spanish and English. You can find disaster assistance that meets your personal needs, locate over 70 forms of assistance from 17 federal agencies, apply for disaster assistance, reduce the number of forms you have to fill out, shorten the time it takes to apply for aid, check the progress of your applications, continue to receive benefits from government programs even if you have to leave your home, learn about Small Business Administration loans using an online application, get help for recovering and rebuilding the areas of your life that were affected by the disaster and locate resources in your community that can help you move forward, etc.

Who should I call if I want to apply for disaster assistance over the phone?

Applicants may call FEMA’s Call Center at 800-621-FEMA (800-621-3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY), and/or apply directly to the agencies individually using the processes currently in place (phone, mailed application, fax, etc.).

How do I apply for disaster assistance through

You may apply for disaster assistance two ways: You may choose to take the disaster assistance questionnaire to find out which assistance programs you may be eligible to receive and then continue on to FEMA’s Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) to enter your personal information into the system. If you already know what you would like to apply for, you may bypass the questionnaire by clicking “Apply Online” homepage and go directly to FEMA’s DAC link.

Who do I contact for help with this site?

For technical assistance regarding this site, please go to the “Contact Us” page under the Help tab. There you may email your questions and will receive a response in one to two business days. (Call the numbers listed above if you need immediate disaster assistance.)

What should I expect when completing the questionnaire?

The questionnaire should take a few minutes to complete. Upon completion, you will receive a list of assistance for which you may be eligible. The nature of the questions will vary. Most are specifically related to disasters, while others will determine your eligibility for other forms of assistance. You are not required to answer all questions to complete the questionnaire. Since this is an anonymous questionnaire, this information is not being saved, and will not be used by any federal agency.

What happens if I register more than once for disaster assistance over the Internet?

Completing more than one registration in a single disaster will delay the processing of your case. If you have suffered damage caused by two separate disasters, you may register for each. Be certain to select the correct disaster on the first page of the registration application.

How do I check on my application?

Go to the homepage and click on “Check Your Status,” located on the right side of the homepage. From there you may login and check the status of your application.

Is there a limit to the benefits disaster survivors may receive?


Does disaster help have to be repaid?

A grant from the Individual and Households Program does not have to be repaid. Loans from the Small Business Administration must be repaid.

Are aliens eligible for disaster assistance? Who is eligible for disaster assistance?

To be eligible for cash assistance from FEMA you must be a qualified alien. A qualified alien generally includes individuals who are lawful permanent residents (possessing an alien registration receipt card) or those with legal status due to asylum, refugee, parole (admission into the U.S. for humanitarian purposes), withholding of deportation, or domestic violence. Applicants should consult an immigration expert concerning whether or not their immigration status falls within the qualified alien category.

How can I report disaster fraud?

Call the FEMA Waste, Fraud and Abuse Hotline at 800-323-8603. You do not have to provide your name. You can also:

  • Fax the DHS OIG Hotline at 202-254-4292
  • Write the Department of Homeland Security

            Washington, DC 20528

            Attn: Office of Inspector General, Hotline

When making a report, convey as much information as possible such as: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Complaints may be made anonymously or you may request confidentiality.

About the Author

James Guyette

James E. Guyette is a long-time contributing editor to Aftermarket Business World, ABRN and Motor Age magazines.

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