PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) said those who were affected by the March tornadoes should be aware of duplication of benefits.

By law, federal assistance cannot duplicate the benefits provided by insurance, loans, or other grants. If an applicant spends their FEMA aid on anything other than the intended purpose, they may be denied assistance the next time a disaster strikes. In some cases, FEMA will ask that the money be returned.

Some survivors are offered low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). While no one is required to take the loan, the full amount offered may be considered a benefit – that cannot be duplicated – whether accepted or not.

Those receiving assistance are urged to keep receipts of their disaster spending for three years to document the money that was used to meet disaster-related needs. If a recipient receives an insurance settlement to cover the same expenses, he or she must reimburse FEMA. Random audits are conducted to confirm funds were spent appropriately.

The Document Assistance Drop-Off Centers in Sharkey County and Humphreys County are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through June 2. The Sharkey County location will close for the weekend and re-open from June 5 to June 9. The Humphreys County location closes indefinitely on Friday, June 2.

The locations are:

  • Humphreys County: Humphreys County Library, 105 Hayden Street, Belzoni, MS 39038
  • Sharkey County: Sharkey Issaquena Nursing Home, 431 West Race Street, Rolling Fork, MS 39159