April 14, 2024

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Individual Assistance | FEMA.gov

FEMA can help support your recovery from a major disaster.

FEMA Reforms Disaster Assistance

FEMA implemented the most significant updates to disaster assistance in the last 20 years. These updates include:

  • Flexible funding provided directly to survivors when they need it most.
  • Expanded eligibility to help more people recover faster.
  • Simplified application process to meet survivors’ individual needs.

These changes apply to disasters declared on or after March 22, 2024.

Learn More

What Kind of Help Do You Need?

I Need Immediate Assistance

Our
disaster assistance partners can provide help with immediate needs FEMA is not
authorized to provide.

  • Emergency Medical Assistance: Please dial 9-1-1.
  • Emergency Shelter: Locate options by zip code by visiting the American Red Cross, or Salvation Army, or by texting SHELTER and your zip code (for example, “SHELTER 01234”) to 4FEMA (43362). For Spanish text REFUGIO and your zip code. (Standard text message rates apply.)  You can also download the FEMA Mobile App to find open shelters.
  • Immediate Needs: Check with your local emergency management officials, voluntary agencies or be calling your local 2-1-1. The FEMA Helpline (800-621-3362) may be able to provide additional referrals. If you use video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA your number for that service.

We also offer support for individuals with disabilities, or access and functional needs.

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Are you experiencing distress or other mental health concerns related to natural or human-caused disasters? Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline.

Help for Individuals and Households

FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial assistance and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs.

Next Steps After Applying for Assistance

You will receive notification letters from FEMA either by U.S. mail or by electronic correspondence. FEMA may contact you about needing to verify information or completing a home inspection.

Help from the U.S. Small Business Administration

FEMA works with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters in declared disaster areas.

These loans help cover disaster-caused damage or items to help prevent future damage. You do not need to own a business to apply for an SBA disaster loan. You may be referred to SBA after applying for FEMA disaster assistance.

If you were referred to SBA, you must complete an SBA disaster loan application on the SBA website or at a Disaster Recovery Center.

See more about SBA loans.

Materials to Support Individual Assistance

Road to Recovery

While not all disaster survivors’ path to recovery is the same, this interactive tool steps you through the typical processes and requirements to follow that can help get you the support you need after experiencing a disaster.

Get Started on the Road to Recovery

“Help After a Disaster” Brochure

Designed to help communities understand the types of FEMA assistance available to support individuals and families in disaster recovery. The brochure can be reviewed and downloaded in multiple languages. 

Please note, this brochure does not reflect the Individual Assistance updates for disasters declared on or after March 22, 2024.

Download the brochures.

Individual Assistance Resource Library

Get information about policies, guidance, and fact sheets of FEMA’s Individual Assistance programs, including the FEMA Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide (IAPPG).

Visit the collection of information.

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