DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
FEMA FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Helping People Before, During & After Disasters
1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585
FEMA is a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Preparedness and
Response Directorate. FEMA works as a partner with other parts of the Federal government and
with State and local governments and voluntary organizations. These partners include state and
local emergency management agencies, 27 federal agencies and American Red Cross. FEMA’s
continuing mission is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage
federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive
mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program
and the U. S. Fire Administration.
FEMA advises on building codes and flood plain management… teaching people how to get
through a disaster…helping equip local and state emergency preparedness …coordinating the
federal disaster…making disaster assistance available to states, communities, businesses, and
individual…training emergency managers…supporting the nation’s fire service… administering the
national flood and crime insurance programs…the range of FEMA’s activities is broad indeed.
Assistance to Individuals and Households
The Individuals and Household Program (IHP) provides financial help or direct services to those
who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet the needs through
other means. Up to $25,600 is available in financial help (adjusted each year), although some
forms of IHP assistance have limits.
Temporary Housing: Money to rent a different place to live or a temporary housing unit (when
rental properties are not available).
Repair: Money for homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by
insurance. The goal is to repair the home to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.
FEMA may provide up to $5,100; then the homeowner must apply for a Small Business
Administration disaster loan for additional repair assistance. FEMA will not pay to return a home to
its condition before the disaster.
Repair and replacement items include:
Structural parts of a home (foundation, outside walls, roof)
Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinetry
Septic or sewage system
Well or other water system
Heating, ventilating , and air conditioning system
Utilities (electrical, plumbing and gas systems)
Entrance and exit ways from the home, including privately owned access roads
Blocking, leveling and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer,
water, electrical and fuel lines and tanks.
Replacement: Money to replace a disaster-damaged home, under rare conditions, if this can be
done with limited funds. If the home is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, the homeowner
must comply with flood insurance purchase requirements and local flood codes and requirements.
Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home.
This type of assistance occurs only in very unusual situations, in remote locations specified by
FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible. Construction shall follow current
minimal local building codes and standards where they exist, or minimal acceptable construction
industry standards in the area. Construction will aim toward average quality, size and capacity,
taking into consideration the needs of the occupant.
Other Needs Assistance
Other Needs Assistance is grants for uninsured, disaster-related necessary expenses and serious
needs. Flood Insurance may be required on insurable items (personal property) if they are to be
located in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Assistance included:
Medical and dental expenses
Funeral and burial costs
Repair, cleaning, or replacement of:
o Household items (room furnishings, appliances)
o Specialized tools or protective clothing and equipment required for your job
o Necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies)
Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, air purifier, dehumidifier)
Fuel (fuel, chain, saw, firewood)
Repairing or replacing vehicles damaged by the disaster, or providing for public
transportation or other transportation costs
Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (including evacuation, storage, or the
return of property to a home)
Other necessary expenses or serious needs (for example, towing, or setup or connecting
essential utilities for a housing unit not provided by FEMA)
The cost of a National Flood insurance Program group flood insurance policy to meet the
flood insurance requirements for “other needs assistance.”
Conditions and Limitations of IHP Assistance
Non-discrimination: All forms of FEMA disaster housing assistance are available to any
affected household that meets the conditions of eligibility. No Federal entity or official (or
their agent) may discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion,
sex, age, national origin, disability, or economic status.
Residency status in the United States and its territories: To be considered for disaster
housing assistance, you or an adult household member must provide proof of identity and
sign a declaration stating that you/they are a United States citizen, a non-citizen national,
or a qualified alien.
Supplemental Assistance: Disaster housing assistance is not intended to substitute for
private recovery efforts, but to complement those efforts when needed. FEMA expects
minor housing damage or the need for short-term shelter to be addressed by homeowners
or tenants. Furthermore, the Disaster Housing Program is not a loss indemnification
program and does not ensure that applicants are returned to their pre-disaster living
Household Composition: People living together in one residence before the disaster are
expected to continue to live together after the disaster. Generally, assistance is provided
to the pre-disaster household as a unit. If, however, the assistance provided to the
household is not shared with you, of if the new residence is too small or causes you undue
hardship, you may request assistance separate from your pre-disaster household.
Type of Assistance: Generally, more than one type of IHP assistance may be provided to
the household. Only FEMA has the authority to determine which type of assistance is
most appropriate for the household and the period of assistance to be covered.
Proper Use of Assistance: All financial assistance provided by FEMA should be used as
specified in writing: to rent another place to live, to make the home repairs identified by
FEMA, or to prevent eviction or foreclosure. Failure to use the money as specified may
make you ineligible for additional assistance. All money provided by FEMA is tax-free.
Documentation: It is your responsibility to provide all documentation necessary for FEMA
to evaluate your eligibility. You may need to provide proof of occupancy, ownership,
income loss, and/or information concerning your hosing situation prior to the disaster. You
should keep all receipts and records for any housing expenses incurred as a result of the
disaster. This includes receipts for repair supplies and labor, and rent payments.
Insurance: If you have insurance, any assistance provided by FEMA should be
considered an advance and must be repaid to FEMA when you receive your insurance
settlement payment. If your settlement is less than FEMA’s estimated cost to make your
home habitable, you may qualify for funds to supplement your insurance settlement, but
only for repairs relating to the home’s habitability. FEMA does not provide replacement
value amounts or assistance with non-essential items.
Duration of Assistance: Repair assistance is provided as a one-time payment.
Temporary Housing Assistance (or a mobile home/travel trailer) is provided for an initial
period of 1, 2, or 3 months. To be considered for additional assistance, you must
demonstrate that you have spent any previous assistance from FEMA as instructed, and
you must demonstrate your efforts to re-establish permanent housing. Additional
assistance is generally provided for 1, 2, or 3 months at a time. The maximum period for
IHP assistance is 18 months.
Appeal Rights: If you disagree with FEMA’s determination of eligibility or the form of
assistance provided, you have the right to appeal within 60 days of the date of your
notification letter. Send appeal letters to: Appeals Officer, [ADDRESS OF
APPROPRIATE NPSC]. Telephone: 1-800-621-FEMA or TTY 1-800-462-7585.
U. S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)
Basic Facts about SBA Disaster Loans Programs
In the wake of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes and other physical disasters,
the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) plays a major role. SBA’s disaster loans are the
primary form of Federal assistance for non-farm, private sector disaster losses. For this reason,
the disaster loan program is the only form of SBA assistance not limited to small businesses.
Disaster loans from SBA help homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit
organizations fund rebuilding. SBA’s disaster loans are a critical source of economic stimulation in
disaster ravaged communities, helping to spur employment and stabilize tax bases.
By providing disaster assistance in the form of loans which are repaid to the Treasury, the SBA
disaster loan program helps reduce Federal disaster costs compared to other forms of assistance,
such as grants. When disaster victims need to borrow to repair uninsured damages, the low
interest rates and long terms available from SBA make recovery affordable. Because SBA tailors
the repayment of each disaster loan to each borrower’s financial capability, unnecessary interest
subsidies paid by the taxpayers are avoided. Moreover, providing disaster assistance in the form
of loans rather than grants avoids creating an incentive for property owners to underinsure against
risk. Disaster loans require borrowers to maintain appropriate hazard and flood insurance
coverage, thereby reducing the need for future disaster assistance.
The SBA is authorized by the Small Business Act to make two types of disaster loans:
Physical disaster loans are a primary source of funding for permanent rebuilding and
replacement of uninsured disaster damages to privately-owned real and/or personal
property. SBA’s physical disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, non-farm
businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations.
Economic injury disaster loan provide necessary working capital until normal operations
resume after a physical disaster. The law restricts economic injury disaster loans to small
Disaster Assistance Program
When disaster strikes the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) acts as the Federal
government’s disaster bank.
The SBA makes disaster loans to homeowners, renters, non-farm businesses of all sizes,
and non-profit organizations.
By providing disaster assistance in the form of loans that are repaid to the U. S. Treasury,
SBA’s disaster loan program helps reduce Federal disaster costs.
Those affected by a disaster should first rely on insurance, and then on the SBA disaster
loans. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with the state offers
limited assistance through their individual and Family Grant program.
The SBA makes three types of disaster loans:
o Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to cover residential losses not fully
covered by insurance. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to
repair or replace personal property such as clothing, furniture, cars, etc.
o Non-farm businesses of any size of non-profit organizations may apply for up to
$1.5 million to repair or replace business assets like inventory, machinery and
equipment damage by the disaster.
o Small businesses that suffered economic losses may apply for a SBA economic
injury disaster loans, even if the business was not physically damaged during the
disaster. The limit for these working capital loans is $1.5 million.
SBA disaster loans are affordable. By making long-term (up to 30 years) low-interest
(about 4%) loans, SBA provides disaster survivors a down payment on their future.
To learn more about SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program, visit the website at
HOW TO APPLY
To apply, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The speech or hearing impaired may call (TTY)
Be prepared to give your Social Security number, describe your losses, provide financial
information, and give direction to the damaged property.
The information you provide is put into the system and the recovery process begins.
Refer to the application number the registrars gave you when you applied when you call in
Once you are registered, an inspector will call to schedule an appointment. There is no
inspection fee. Inspectors will set up an appointment to visit your property within a few
days of application.
You must be present for your scheduled appointment with inspectors. They will inspect
damage, verify ownership and occupancy, and make a report. Inspectors do not
determine eligibility. If eligible, you will receive a housing assistance check within 7-10
days that should be spent on housing needs
There may also be an SBA application enclosed that should be completed and returned in
order to be eligible for further assistance.
AMERICAN RED CROSS
The Red Cross will provide direct financial assistance to disaster victims in the form of Client
Assistance Cards for basic needs such as food, clothes and temporary housing. This will be
done through call centers set up by the American Red Cross. Red Cross workers will meet
with clients, and determine the amount of assistance the Red Cross can provide and then
credits the card with a specific dollar amount. Please gall 1-866-GET-INFO for more
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS FEMA?
FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is responsible for providing and
coordinating emergency services in Federally declared disaster areas.
WHAT TYPES OF HELP ARE AVAILABLE?
Two primary Federal programs offer disaster help:
FEMA’s Individuals and Household Programs provides money and direct services to those
affected by a major disaster. Requirements must be met to qualify for help from this
The U. S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest loans for damage to
property owned by homeowners, renters, businesses and private non-profit organizations
that are not fully covered by insurance.
DOES DISASTER HELP HAVE TO BE REPAID?
Money received through FEMA’s Individuals and Household Program does not have
to be repaid. Loans from the Small Business Administration must be repaid.
CAN I APPLY FOR HELP FOR MY DAMAGED CAR?
Yes. You will need to provide proof of ownership and insurance information.
CAN I APPLY FOR HELP FOR HELP FOR FOOD THAS HAS BEEN LOST BECAUSE OF
No. Food loss is not covered by IHP. The American Red Cross and other voluntary organizations
in the disaster area will be able to help you with food and water.
HOW CAN I GET IN TOUCH WITH MY FAMILY?
The American Red Cross maintains a database to help you find family. Contact your local
American Red Cross chapter for information (www.redcross.com), or call 866-GET-INFO (438-
WHAT IF I LOST MY JOB OR CAN’T WORK BECAUSE OF THE DISASTER?
People who lose their jobs due to the disaster may apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance
(DUA) which provides weekly benefits to individuals who are unemployed and not eligible for
regular Unemployment Insurance compensation. You can call 1-800-621-FEMA (TTY: 1-800-462-
7585) or the local unemployment office for information
WHAT IF MY HOME WAS DESTROYED?
FEMA can provide disaster housing assistance to those whose homes are damaged or destroyed.
To apply for assistance, all you have to do is call the special toll free telephone number, 1-800-621-
FEMA (3362) and register. Specially trained operators at one of FEMA's National Processing
Service Centers will process your application
WHAT IF I RENT MY HOME AND IT WAS DESTROYED?
FEMA directly reimburses all eligible applicants for rental assistance for a period of time and/or up
to a certain dollar amount. Renters are not eligible for housing assistance, because the building is
the responsibility of the property owner. If a renter moves to another apartment, FEMA says that
their housing need is now taken care of, and they may not be eligible for additional assistance.
However, cases are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Rent is paid based on the Fair Market
Value in that area.
WILL ANY PROGRAMS PAY FOR MOVING AND STORAGE EXPENSES?
Costs of moving and storage may be covered by IHP, if these costs are directly related to the
disaster. Submit receipts to see if they are covered.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY FOR HELP WITH FEMA?
Within ten days of your application to FEMA, a qualified inspector will contact you to set up at time
to see the damage to your property. Your losses will be recorded and submitted to IHP. Within
about ten more days, you should have a decision about whether you qualify for help form IHP. If
you have been referred for a disaster loan from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA),
SBA will also contact you and schedule an appointment to review your losses.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET FEMA/STATE DISASTER HELP?
If you are eligible for help, you should receive a U. S. Treasury check or notification of a deposit to
you bank account within about ten days of the inspectors visit.
IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT MY APPLICATION OR NEED TO CHANGE SOME OF THE
INFORMATION I PROVIDED, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Call the FEMA disaster Helpline at 1-800-621-3362, (hearing/speech impaired only: 1-800-462-
IF IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN 12 DAYS SINCE THE FEMA INSPECTOR’S VISIT AND THERE
HAS BEEN NO WORD FORM FEMA, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Call the Helpline to ask about your application. If there is a disaster recovery center in your area,
you also may inquire there about your application.
IF I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE RESULTS OF THE INSPECTION OR WITH THE AMOUNT OF
MONEY I RECEIVED FROM FEMA, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You can appeal the decision or call the Helpline at 1-800-621-3362, (hearing/speech impaired only:
1-800-462-7585) for more information about the appeal process.
WHAT TYPE OF OWNERSHIP DOCUMENTATION CAN I PROVIDE TO SUPPORT MY
APPLICATION FOR HELP?
Deed or official record may be the original deed or deed of trust to the property listing you as the
Title number that lists you on the actual escrow or title document for the purchase of the dwelling.
Mortgage payment book or other mortgage documents (i.e. late payment notices, foreclosure
notice) may be used to verify the ownership when your name is listed along with the damaged
Real property insurance must be for the damage dwelling you are occupying with your name listed
as the insured.
Tax receipts or property tax bill showing the damaged dwelling and listing you as the responsible
party to the assessments.
WHAT TYPE OF OCCUPANCY DOCUMENTATION CAN I PROVIDE TO SUPPORT MY
APPLICATION FOR HELP?
Utility bills for the damaged dwelling you are occupying with your name (or name of co-applicant).
The utility bill should be for one of the major utilities – electricity, gas or water.
Merchant’s statement sent to the damaged dwelling you are occupying with your name (or name of
co-applicant). Merchant statements include: credit card bills, delivery notices, or other first class
mail addressed to you and showing you the damaged dwelling address.
Employer’s statement sent to damaged dwelling you are occupying with your name (or name of co-
applicant). And employer’s statement refers to pay stubs and similar documents sent to you
showing the damaged dwelling address.
Current driver’s license showing the address of the damaged dwelling.
I HAVE INSURANCE, AM I ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTANCE?
FEMA cannot duplicate assistance from your insurance company. If you still have serious unmet
needs after receiving your insurance settlement, FEMA may be able to provide assistance in
accordance with program guidelines.
SHOULD I REGISTER FOR FEMA AID BEFORE SETTLING WITH MY INSURANCE COMPANY?
If you have not already contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, please do so as soon as
possible. Failure to file a claim with your insurance company may affect your eligibility for
assistance with FEMA. FEMA encourages everyone with disaster damages to apply over the
phone at 800-621-3362 (hearing/speech impaired ONLY – call 800-462-7585)
MY INSURANCE COMPANY AND I DON’T AGREE ON SETTLEMENT. CAN I GET FEMA
GRANTS IN THE MEANTIME?
If you are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, you should submit any
insurance information you have to FEMA. Based on the information, FEMA will evaluate your
eligibility and may be able to assist.
ARE INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLES COVERED UNDER FEMA’S PROGRAMS?
FEMA does not cover insurance deductibles. However, if the insurance proceeds are insufficient
to cover necessary expenses or serious needs, FEMA may be able to offer assistance
WHERE CAN I GET INFORMATION ABOUT FLOOD INSURANCE?
Call a local licensed casualty or property insurance agent or call the National Flood Insurance
Program at 1-800-427-4661.
SHOULD I BEGIN CLEANING MY HOME BEFORE THE INSPECTION?
You may clean before inspection. If possible, take photos of the damage before you clean.
Remember to keep receipts for all of you expenses.
WHY DID I RECEIVE A DISASTER LOAN APPLICATION FROM SBA AFTER APPLYING WITH
SBA is the primary source of federal funds for long-term recovery assistance for disaster victims.
For disaster damage to private property owned y homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of
all sizes, which is not fully covered by insurance, the basic form of Federal help is a low-interest
disaster loan from the SBA.
HOW CAN I GET HELP FILLING OUT THE APPLICATION FOR AN SBA DISASTER LOAN?
SBA has loan officers in local offices to provide face-to-face service to disaster victims. You may
visit SBA at any location and without an appointment. To find out where SBA disaster offices are
located, an applicant can call 1-800-488-5323.
I HAVE ALRADY RECEIVED MONEY FROM FEMA, BUT IT WAS NOT ENOUGH TO PAY FOR
ALL THE WORK NEEDED TO FIX THE DAMAGES, CAN I GET MORE HELP?
Yes. SBA disaster loans are available to cover the amount of repair costs that have not already
been fully compensated. Application should be made to SBA for any additional amount needed to
I THINK I CAN PAY FOR THE REPAIRS ON MY OWN, SHOUL I APPLY FOR A DISASTER
You may discover that the total costs to complete repairs on your own are more than you planned.
With an approved loan, you will know that the funds to make full repairs are available. While no
one wants additional debt, a low interest loan with affordable payments is a better alternative than
not making complete disaster repairs.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CANNOT AFFORD A LOAN TO REPAIR DAMAGED PROPERTY?
If SBA determines you cannot afford a loan, SBA will automatically refer you back to FEMA for
additional help. FEMA may be able to provide money for other housing needs; however, this
additional help is not available to businesses. FEMA’s additional help is intended to meet
necessary expenses and serious needs not met by any other form of help, including insurance and
SBA disaster loans. Remember, if you were sent a SBA disaster loan application, SBA will not
refer you back to FEMA unless a completed application is returned to the SBA and SBA
determines that you cannot afford a loan.
I THINK I NEED LEGAL HELP
Local members of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division offer free legal
counseling to low-income individuals. You can get information at a Disaster Recovery Center
(DRC) that may be set up after the President declares a major disaster. You can call 1-800-621-
FEMA (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) for more information.
YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS AND DISASTER ASSISTANCE
WHAT FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION DO CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS PROHIBIT?
There are many forms of illegal discrimination that can limit the opportunity of people to gain equal
access to services and programs. Among other things, in operating a FEMA-assisted program, a
recipient cannot, on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, or economic status,
either directly or through contractual means:
Deny program services, aids or benefits;
Provide a different service, aid or benefit, or provide them in a manner different than they
provided to others; or
Segregate or separately treat individuals in any matter related to the receipt of any service,
aid or benefit.
These prohibitions also apply to FEMA itself in is operation of federally conducted programs.
WHAT IF I HAVEA CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT, BELIEVE I HAVE BEEN DISCRIMINATED OR
If you believe you or others protected by the Civil Rights laws have been discriminated against in
receiving disaster assistance, you may contact a FEMA Equal Rights Officer (ERO), who has the
job of ensuring equal access to all FEMA disaster program. The ERO will attempt to resolve your
issues. You may reach the ERO by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. If the matter
is not resolved, you may file a complaint with FEMA. A signed, written complaint should be sent to
the Office of Equal Rights, generally within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination. The
complaint must include:
Your name, address and telephone number. Your complaint must be signed. If you are
filing on of another person, include your name, address, telephone number, and your relationship
to that person (e.g., friend, attorney, parent, etc.); the name and address of the agency, institution
or department you believe discriminated against you; how, why, and when you believe you were
discriminated against. Include as much background information as possible about the alleged
discrimination. Include names of individuals whom you alleged discriminated against you, if you
Once a complaint is filed, it will be reviewed by FEMA to determine whether it has a jurisdiction to
investigate the issues you have raised. If our complaint is accepted, FEMA will investigate it and
attempt to resolve any violations that are found.
If you have any questions or need clarification on above mentioned
guidelines, please contact Rosiland Lipscomb at 601-656-5411 or