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Homeland Security

Disaster Assistance

Disaster Assistance

What is Disaster Assistance?

Recovering from a disaster is a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being.

Disaster assistance is money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance. It is meant to help you with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster.

Providing Disaster Assistance

DHS/FEMA may assist you with:

  • Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.
  • 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 Needs: Disaster-related medical, dental, funeral, and burial costs; fuels for a primary heat source; clothing and household items; tools required for your job;  and necessary educational materials.

Applying for Assistance

If you have losses in a presidentially-declared disaster area, you may apply for disaster assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or over the phone through the FEMA Helpline:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • 711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362

On DisasterAssistance.gov, you can answer an anonymous questionnaire to determine forms of assistance you may qualify for. You can also find other disaster-related information and resources.

Last Published Date: September 15, 2014
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