You are not alone if disaster strikes, you can apply for disaster assistance from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA’s mission is to support Americans in times of crisis as well as first responders.
The organization helps support people recovering from any major disaster. A disaster includes things like an earthquake, tsunami, drought, hurricane, and fire among other things. The president can declare a natural event a disaster.
If you find yourself in need of this disaster assistance, you should apply as quickly as you can. We’ve looked into the program closely and have a lot of details about what type of help you can get with FEMA up next.
How Does FEMA Disaster Assistance Help?
Home/primary residence assistance
FEMA offers assistance to families and individuals who may have lost their homes through presidentially declared disaster. If you are a homeowner or a renter, then you may qualify for this kind of assistance. But if you get help from insurance, FEMA will not help.
FEMA does not offer assistance to small businesses that are impacted by a presidentially declared disaster. However, they do partner with Small Business Administration (SBA) that offers business low-interest loans for any damage to their businesses.
According to Federal Laws and Guidelines, FEMA will not help with your secondary home. They only provide housing assistance for your primary residence and this is impacted by whether or not the disaster is presidentially declared or not.
Additionally, FEMA offers other types of assistance such as dental and medical, child care, burial, funeral, essential household items, moving and storage, vehicle, and other types of services as per their qualifying rules.
What Type of Housing Disaster Assistance Can I Get?
They offer financial assistance to homeowners so they can rent a temporary residential place to live for a short period. If you do not have rental properties, they have other housing options available for you.
Lodging expenses reimbursement
You shall be reimbursed or your hotel expenses if you are a renter or a homeowner who has lost their home, but this is only for a short time due to inaccessibility or due to the utility outage. If you’re covered by insurance then you can’t rely on FEMA.
Financial assistance is available to homeowners to repair their damaged homes as a result of disaster that are not covered by insurance. The main goal of this is to make the damaged home safe enough for occupancy.
Financial assistance is also available to homeowners who need to replace their homes. If you home has been destroyed by disaster and it is not covered by insurance than FEMA can help. The goal of this is to help them with the cost of replacing their homes.
How to apply for Disaster Assistance through FEMA
You can apply for disaster assistance through www.disasterassistance.gov, or you can call 1-800-621-FEMA.
When you apply, you shall be asked the following questions
- The address of the home that has been damaged.
- The names of the people who were living in your home.
- A complete description of the damages.
- Insurance information.
- Social security number.
- Telephone number where they can reach you.
- Email address.
If you wish to have your assistance funds sent to your bank, you should provide them the following information.
- Your bank account type
- Account number
- Routing number
After application, you shall receive a FEMA application number write this number down so you can use it later. You shall need it whenever you speak with FEMA at all times.
Insurance is important at this time. Contact your insurance company immediately, because FEMA will only cover damages that are not covered by the insurance. By law, they cannot duplicate benefits, which means you cannot be paid twice for the same damages.
If you happen to move after applying, ensure to let FEMA know about this, and send them your new address and telephone contact. This will ensure that the disaster assistance gets to where you are.
What Happens Next?
FEMA will send you a check through the mail or deposit money into your savings or checking account. They will also send you a letter explaining how you are allowed to use the money.
If you happen not to qualify, FEMA shall send you a letter explaining to you why your application was unsuccessful, and offer you the opportunity to send an appeal.
Apply For Disaster Assistance Conclusion
It is good to know that you can find help from the government when you face a disaster through no fault of your own. So far, FEMA has not said they will help with health disasters like the Coronavirus, but that may change in the future.