Disaster assistance is financial 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 with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore the damaged property to its condition before the disaster.
Providing Disaster Assistance
FEMA's Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial and/or direct assistance to eligible applicants who, as a result of a major disaster or emergency, have necessary expenses and serious needs that are unmet through insurance or other means and may include the following programs:
FEMA provides funds paid directly to eligible individuals and households and may include the following types of assistance:
- Rental Assistance: To secure temporary housing while repairs are being made to the pre-disaster primary residence or while transitioning to permanent housing. Rental Assistance may be used to rent a house, apartment, manufactured home, recreational vehicle, or other readily fabricated dwelling.
- Lodging Expense Reimbursement: Reimbursement for hotels, motels, or other short-term lodging while an applicant is displaced from their primary residence.
- Home Repair Assistance: To help repair an owner-occupied primary residence, utilities, and residential structure, including privately-owned access routes (driveways, roads, or bridges) to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.
- Home Replacement Assistance: To help homeowners replace their uninsured or under-insured primary residence, destroyed by a disaster.
FEMA may provide direct housing services to eligible individuals and households, when disaster survivors are unable to use Rental Assistance due to a lack of available housing resources. The impacted state, territorial, or tribal government must request Direct Temporary Housing Assistance and FEMA must approve this assistance prior to implementation. Direct Temporary Housing Assistance is not counted toward the IHP maximum award amount and may include:
- Manufactured Housing Units: Manufactured homes provided by FEMA and made available to use as temporary housing.
- Multi-Family Lease and Repair: This assistance allows FEMA to enter into lease agreements with owners of multi-family rental properties located in disaster areas and make repairs or improvements to provide temporary housing to disaster survivors.
- Permanent or Semi-Permanent Housing Construction: Home repair and/or construction services provided in insular (limited) areas outside the continental United States and other locations where no alternative housing resources are available; and where other types of FEMA Housing Assistance are unavailable, infeasible, or not cost-effective.
Individuals and households may receive financial assistance for other disaster-caused expenses and serious needs. Eligibility for some types of Other Needs Assistance are dependent on eligibility with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster loan program. The SBA provides low-interest, long-term loans to help individuals and households with personal property, transportation, and expenses for moving and storage incurred due to a declared disaster. FEMA IHP Other Needs Assistance is divided into two categories that are either dependent or non-dependent on the individual’s or household’s ability to qualify for a SBA disaster loan.
Only individuals or households who do not qualify for a loan from the SBA may be eligible for the following types of assistance:
- Personal Property Assistance: To repair or replace essential household items including, but not limited to, furnishings and appliances, accessibility items defined within the Americans with Disabilities Act, and specialized tools and protective clothing required by an employer.
- Transportation Assistance: To repair or replace a vehicle damaged by a disaster and other transportation-related costs.
- Moving and Storage Assistance: To relocate and store personal property from the damaged primary residence to prevent further disaster damage, such as ongoing repairs, and returning the property to the primary residence.
May be awarded regardless of the individual’s or household’s SBA disaster loan status and may include:
- Funeral Assistance: Assistance is available to individuals and households who have incurred or will incur eligible funeral expenses that are directly or indirectly related to the disaster.
- Medical and Dental Assistance: To assist with medical or dental expenses caused by a disaster, which may include injury, illness, loss of prescribed medication and equipment, or insurance co-payments.
- Child Care Assistance: A one-time payment, covering up to eight cumulative weeks of child care expenses, for a household’s increased financial burden to care for children aged 13 and under; and/or children aged 14 to 18 with a disability as defined by federal law.
- Miscellaneous or Other Items Assistance: To reimburse for eligible items purchased or rented after a disaster incident for an individual or household’s recovery, such as gaining access to the property or assisting with cleaning efforts. Eligible items are identified by the state, territorial, or tribal government and may include items such as a chainsaw, air purifier or dehumidifier.
Applying for Assistance
FEMA Disaster Assistance can help support your recovery from a major disaster. If you're ready to apply now for disaster assistance or would like more information on the types of assistance available please visit DisasterAssistance.gov. Not sure if you are in an area declared for disaster assistance? Visit DisasterAssistance.gov and enter your address to find out if your area is declared for Individual Assistance.
- Online: Go to www.DisasterAssistance.gov on your computer, mobile device, or through the FEMA App to register or check the status of your application.
- By Phone: Call 800-621-3362
- You can register in any language. For Spanish, press 2.
- If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use 711 or VRS, call 800-621-3362. TTY: call 800-462-7585
- In Person: Visit a Disaster Recovery Center
- For locations, call 800-621-3362 or visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Disaster Survivor Assistance team members may be visiting door-to-door in your area. They will have official FEMA photo identification.