Resources for Disaster Survivors
If you've experienced a disaster, there are both federal and local resources that may be able to help you. The first step is registering for disaster assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov.
You will need the following information:
- Social Security number
- Address of the location where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address)
- Current address
- Current telephone number
- Insurance information
- Total household annual income
- Routing and account number for your checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into your bank account)
- A description of your disaster-caused damage and losses
You can also register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)/1-800-462-7585 (TTY) or visiting a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To find a DRC near you, use FEMA's online locator.
Once you are registered for disaster assistance, you may be eligible for:
Temporary Housing Assistance: Money may be available to rent a place to live. If rental resources are not available, you might also be eligible for government-provided housing. FEMA will pay for your lodging directly to hotels and motels. A listing of participating hotels is available online.
Home Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
Home Replacement: Money is available to homeowners to replace homes destroyed in a 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.
Additional Financial Assistance: Money is available for necessities caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses that are authorized by law.
Additional Federal Resources
You may also be eligible for the Small Business Administration’s low-interest loan or food stamp assistance through the Department of Agriculture.
Small Business Administration (SBA): After you register with FEMA, you may be referred to the SBA for information about a low-interest loan. The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. The SBA is the primary source of federal funds for long-term recovery assistance.
The SBA has loan officers in the Disaster Recovery Centers to explain the program and provide assistance in filling out the application. Visit the SBA for more information.
Department of Agriculture-Food Stamp Assistance: You may be eligible to receive disaster food stamp assistance called D-SNAP (Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) through the state. Visit the USDA for more information about this program.
Several national nonprofit organizations provide specialized assistance following a disaster, including:
The American Red Cross. The American Red Cross manages a network of local affiliates that provide food, clothing, shelter and medical care during disasters or emergencies. You can visit Red Cross website or call 1-866-438-4636 to talk to a Red Cross Representative.
Aidmatrix. This organization keeps track of the organizations that are responding to disasters and the kind of aid they are providing. It can also help you to direct donations, both financial and material, to locations impacted by a disaster. For more information, visit Aidmatrix.
Salvation Army. The Salvation Army provides direct material relief and mobilizes volunteers to respond in an emergency. For more information, visit the Salvation Army online.
Humane Society. The Humane Society maintains a national hotline for reporting lost pets, 1-800-HUMANE or 1-800-486-2631. For more information on disaster preparedness and pets, visit the Humane Society.
PetFinder. If you find someone's pet or have lost your pet during a disaster, you can report the found animal or search for you pet using PetFinder.
Feeding America. To find your local food bank, visit the website maintained by Feeding America.
Many people that have survived a disaster are impacted emotionally as well as financially. Common emotional responses to the trauma caused by disasters include:
- Difficulty communicating thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty maintaining life balance
- Low threshold of frustration
- Increased use of drugs/alcohol
- Limited attention span
- Poor work performance
- Headaches/stomach problems
- Tunnel vision/muffled hearing
- Colds or flu-like symptoms
- Disorientation or confusion
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reluctance to leave home
- Depression, sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying
- Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt
- Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone
If you are experiencing these symptoms, recognize that they are normal. Get help if your stress is getting in the way of taking care of the physical, business, and financial issues following a disaster.
Tools to Help
What is a Declared Disaster?
Types of declared disasters and resources to support survivors of them.Learn More