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Frequently Asked Questions - FEMA Disaster Assistance

Please call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or go online at www.disasterassistance.gov. You can call as often as you like to get your questions answered. You can also ask about the location of disaster recovery centers, where you can meet face to face with disaster specialists. 

Receiving such a letter does not necessarily mean that you are not eligible for disaster assistance, even when the letter states “ineligible” or “incomplete.” It can be an indication that further information is needed, or that your insurance claim needs to be settled first before disaster assistance can be granted

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien to be eligible for FEMA assistance. However, assistance may be available to a household if someone registers on behalf of a minor child in the home who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien under 18.

No. The funds are grants that do not have to be repaid.

No. State and FEMA disaster assistance will not affect your Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, supplemental nutrition assistance or similar benefits you receive. 

After you register, your completed application is reviewed, and an inspector may call to schedule an inspection at your damaged dwelling.

If you are eligible for assistance, FEMA’s Households and Individuals Program will send you a U.S. Treasury/state check or a direct deposit to your bank account if you signed up for it. Other types of assistance may be provided later, based on specific eligibility and need.

FEMA leaves the rental choices to survivors. For example, you may use your rental assistance to rent an apartment, a house or a recreational vehicle (RV). RVs can include travel trailers or other prefabricated dwellings. 

Yes. If you are a renter and your house was made unlivable by a disaster, you may be eligible for disaster grants for rental assistance and other serious disaster-related needs. 

If denied FEMA assistance, follow these steps:

  1. Read the letter carefully. There will be a reason for denial stated in the letter and normally, what the individual has to do to correct any problems
  2. Take the letter to the nearest Disaster Response Center, let the staff know you are registered and that you need assistance in correcting a problem with your request
  3. At this stage, a lot of denials are because the individual either hasn't had time to get their insurance policy copy to FEMA or haven't gotten other insurance documentation (settlement statement) to FEMA
  4. Individuals may also attempt to resolve the problem by calling 1-800-621-3362 or at www.disasterassistance.gov.

Individual Assistance may include:

  • Grants to help pay for temporary housing and home repairs
  • Grants to help pay for personal property replacement or disaster-related necessary expenses—such as uninsured medical and dental costs, damaged vehicle replacement, lost work tools, and moving and storage fees related to the disaster
  • Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Yes. Individuals and business owners in the designated counties can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov.

FEMA registrants must use the name that appears on their Social Security card. Applicants will be asked to provide:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the damaged home or apartment
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • A current contact telephone number
  • An address where they can get mail
  • Bank account and routing numbers if they want direct deposit of any financial assistance

Yes. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but under-insured applicants may receive help after their insurance claims have been settled. Also, registering with FEMA is required for federal aid, even if the person has registered with another disaster-relief organization such as the American Red Cross, or local community or church organization. 

Individuals and business owners in the designated counties can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week until further notice.  

Disaster Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.