If a Presidential Disaster Declaration has been made for your county, you may register for disaster assistance, by calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). Specially trained operators at the National Processing Service Center will take your information and begin the application process. Your registration will be forwarded to the appropriate agency for follow-up with you. You can expect to receive printed materials in the mail that explain in detail the verifications that you must provide to complete the application process. In some instances, a federal inspector may also contact you by telephone or letter, to set up an appointment to physically view the damages to your property and personal effects.
Types of Individual Assistance Available
Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $1.5 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
Loans up to $1.5 million for small businesses that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $1.5 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans benefits and social security matters.
In addition to governmental assistance programs, many non-governmental agencies, most notably the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a large number of religious organizations also have programs to help families recover from disasters.
Disaster Assistance Available from FEMA
Temporary Housing - (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available. Search for information about housing rental resources
Repair - Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
Replacement - Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
Permanent Housing Construction - Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
Other than Housing Needs
Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes:
Disaster-related medical and dental costs.
Disaster-related funeral and burial cost.
Clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies).
Fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas, firewood).
Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, air purifier, dehumidifier).
Disaster damaged vehicle.
Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster-related repairs are being made to the home).
Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.
Other expenses that are authorized by law.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Disaster Assistance
Under certain circumstances, the IRS allows taxpayers, through a special filing amendment, to deduct current year’s disaster casualty losses from the previous year’s income, with a potential immediate tax refund for those losses.
Disaster Crisis Counseling
Short-term crisis counseling may be made available through community mental health agencies, for individuals suffering from stress or mental health problems relating to a Presidentially Declared Disaster. This service is provided through special funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those who may require this service are encouraged to inquire into its availability by contacting the disaster assistance helpline number. Additional mental health information may be found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Mental Health Services website.
Disaster Food Stamps
Under extraordinary circumstances, the Department of Human Services may implement the Disaster Food Stamp Program. Eligibility for benefits under this program is based on household income and disaster-related losses. Applications for disaster Food Stamps are taken at local offices of the Department of Human Services.