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Good question. The information you hear on the news is often misleading. The total amount of assistance (excluding loans from the SBA) that an individual can get from FEMA to help recover from a disaster is limited to $28,200 as of October 1, 2006. This amount is adjusted each year based on the Consumer Price Index for all Consumer Goods. Any funds you get from FEMA for housing or Other Needs Assistance count against the $28,200. However, very few disaster victims get the full amount. Before you can get assistance from Other Needs Assistance (ONA), you must first apply for an SBA loan. Most people qualify for loans and therefore do not get help through ONA. This is why very few disaster victims receive the maximum assistance award. Historically, in Washington State, the average disaster victim gets around $6,000.

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