The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging all New Jersey homeowners to register for Sandy-related damage compensation.

Registering doesn't necessarily mean you'll get funds, but if you hold off on doing so, the process could get more complicated.

Due diligence

Urging homeowners to read FEMA letters carefully, he noted many people are rejected for minor mistakes that can be easily fixed.

"It might be as little as a signature on one page, or an initial here, or you've missed one little document somewhere along the way," said Paul Gardner, a FEMA reservist from Nevada assigned to New Jersey. "The rejection letter does not always mean that that's the end of the road.

Gardner also urged people who don't see any damages to their homes yet to register.

"Maybe a tree fell over in your yard and you don't notice anything at all, but it could be in the spring, when you turn your sprinklers back on, all of a sudden there's some damage that was caused by roots being ripped out of the ground," he continued. "As long as you're registered with FEMA now, you can come back and say, 'Hey look, there is some storm-related damage.'"

How-to guide

To register, homeowners should first call 1-800-621-FEMA. That number is also open for callers with general questions about FEMA's registration process.

The actual registration will then take place in-person at your local Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To find the closest location, go to www.fema.gov/drclocator.