Following a large disaster, the President may award a federal Major Disaster Declaration for the state or affected counties. Depending on the severity and magnitude of the event and the damage, the major disaster declaration may include Individual Assistance (IA), which includes Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program. Under this program, disaster assistance may be provided as financial or direct assistance to individuals and families whose property has been damaged or destroyed as a result of the federally-declared disaster, and whose losses are not covered by insurance.

The Individuals and Households Program has two components:

Housing Assistance (HA), which includes:

  • Temporary housing
  • Lodging expenses reimbursement
  • Repairs and replacement
  • Permanent or semi-permanent housing construction

Other Needs Assistance (ONA), which includes:

  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Personal property
  • Transportation
  • Other expenses or serious needs

Active Disasters and How to Apply

There are currently no open Individual Assistance disasters in Massachusetts.

Following a Major Disaster Declaration that includes Individual Assistance, details and instructions for FEMA registration will be distributed through traditional media, as well as MEMA’s website and social media accounts .

FEMA Assistance Is Not a Substitute for Adequate Insurance

While FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, SBA Disaster Assistance Loans, and other assistance programs may be available, they are not a substitute for insurance and will not make you whole. These programs are meant to help those with critical expenses and serious needs that cannot be covered by other means, such as insurance. Insurance policies such as homeowner, earthquake, flood, and other hazard policies are always the first step in protecting your financial investments. Having insurance is absolutely the best course of action!

The maximum grant award for FEMA’s Individual and Household Program Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2016 is $33,000 and is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index. However generally the average award from these programs is very small in comparison to the maximum available

Additional Disaster Recovery Programs

More Resources and Information

Visit and FEMA Individual Assistance for more information. For more background information on FEMA’s individual assistance program including the disaster declaration process and criteria, see FEMA Individual Assistance Program Guidance..

The FEMA Public Assistance program provides assistance to state and local governments, and certain types of private non-profit organizations, so that communities can recover from major disasters or emergencies.

For questions or additional information, contact MEMA's Recovery Unit Staff.