The following are the first steps you need to take to
recover from the recent disaster and a brief explanation of the federal
government’s disaster assistance process. For more detailed information, please
visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area or
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is
asking for your help to get assistance first to people with destroyed or
seriously damaged homes. If you have damages that are not keeping you from
returning home, please wait a few days to apply for disaster assistance. If you
get a busy signal when calling FEMA, be patient. The line is operational 24/7.
Try calling late in the evening or early in the morning.
If you need food, water, clothing, cleaning supplies,
and/or minor medical care, please contact the American Red Cross or other
volunteer organizations in your area.
Check your newspaper, radio and television news for numbers and locations of
If you have insurance, contact your insurance company
and file a claim.
Make sure to talk to your agent about your coverage. If your insurance does not
cover all of your needs, such as money to pay for a place to stay while you fix
your house (sometimes called additional living expense coverage), you may be
eligible for money from the federal government. The federal government cannot
give you money for items that insurance covers, but we may be able to help with
uncompensated losses. If your insurance company is going to take a long time to
settle your claim, you may also be eligible for help.
If you do not have insurance, or have emergency needs
that insurance does not cover --- Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - TTY
1-800-462-7585 - to apply for federal disaster assistance.
Federal disaster assistance is for disaster damage to your primary home
(vacation homes are not eligible) and includes FEMA’s Individual and Households
Program grants and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest
disaster loans to help you repair or rebuild your home, replace essential
personal property and provide temporary housing until you can return to your
home.You will need to provide the following information as part of registration:
name, current and pre-disaster address (if applicable), proof of residency,
current telephone numbers and insurance coverage information (policy numbers and
agent’s name). FEMA and/or SBA will contact you either with a telephone call
from an inspector or by mail about your application.
After you apply:
FEMA will mail you a copy of your application and an
Applicant Guide that will answer many of your questions. Copies of the guide are
also available at local Disaster Recovery Centers. For the most recent list of
Disaster Recovery Centers, visit www.fema.gov or check local newspapers.
Please wait for a FEMA inspector to contact you and
complete an inspection of your home before calling with questions. FEMA cannot
evaluate your case until the inspector has confirmed your damages. An inspector
should contact you within 10 days after you apply. FEMA will decide if you will
receive assistance within 10 days after the inspection.
If you have access to a computer, check FEMA’s website
(www.fema.gov) for frequently asked questions regarding disaster assistance.
If you get an SBA Disaster Loan application in the
mail, you need to complete and return the application. SBA staff are available
at Disaster Recovery Centers to help you with the application.
If SBA finds that you cannot afford a loan, they will
automatically refer you to FEMA’s Individual and Household grant program for
help. SBA makes the determination if you can afford a loan.
- If SBA approves you for a loan they
will contact you.
- If SBA finds that you cannot afford
a loan, FEMA will contact you.
- If FEMA decides that you are
eligible for a grant, FEMA will send you a check by mail or deposit it in your
bank account. FEMA will also send you a letter describing how you are to use the
money (for example: repairs to your home or to rent another house while you make
- If FEMA decides that you are not
eligible for a grant, FEMA will send you a letter explaining why you were turned
down, and give you a chance to appeal the decision. Appeals must be in writing
and mailed within 60 days of FEMA’s decision.