Depending on the severity, magnitude and damage caused by an event, the President may approve a federal Major Disaster Declaration. This disaster declaration may include Individual Assistance Programs that FEMA offers. Some of the common programs offered are the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Case Management, Disaster Legal Services and Disaster Unemployment.
FEMA Individual Assistance: Individuals and Households Program
FEMA’s Individual and Households Program provides financial and direct services to people who are uninsured or under-insured. The assistance under this program is focused on intermediate and long-term housing and funds for disaster-caused expenses such as repair/replacement of vehicles, moving/storage, medical, dental, child care or funerals.
Active Disasters and How to Apply
When Individual Assistance Programs are offered after a disaster there are two main ways to apply. Often there will be FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers set up within the disaster area. These are physical locations where you can meet with a FEMA representative along with other partners able to support disaster related needs.
You can go to https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ and apply directly on FEMA’s website. This website will list the open Disasters and provide information on each. Please note if you have immediate disaster needs please visit a Disaster Recovery Center or follow information provided on the Mass.gov website.
In order to be eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance Programs you will need to be able to confirm citizenship or immigration status, identity, proof of ownership/occupancy, and an unmet need after insurance (if insurance is applicable). For in-depth information on these requirements please go to FEMA’s program eligibility website.
One way to help prepare you and your family is to make sure you have insurance that covers your housing, vehicle and personal items. Having adequate insurance is one of the best ways to protect you and your family. FEMA’s Individual and Households Program, the Small Business Administration Assistance Loans and other assistance programs are meant to help those with critical needs. These programs work as a safeguard; they are not substitutes for insurance and will not be able fully fund your recovery. Please visit MEMA’s preparedness website for more tips on preparing your family for emergencies.
Additional Programs and Resources
Other federal programs that might be available after a major disaster include:
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance
- Crisis Counseling: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Relief Information
- Department of Mental Health Crisis Counseling
- Disaster Legal Services
- Disaster Case Management Program
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- Taxes and Internal Revenue Service assistance
- Farm Service Agency (FSA) assistance for farmers
Visit DisasterAssistance.gov to learn more about federal assistance programs and how to apply.
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.