Depending on the severity and magnitude of the event and the damage, the President may approve a federal Major Disaster Declaration. The disaster declaration may include Individual Assistance, which includes Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program. Under this program, FEMA may provide disaster assistance 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 includes both housing assistance to aid disaster survivors with housing needs, and other needs assistance for other eligible expenses.
FEMA Individual Assistance: Individuals and Households Program
After a large disaster, the President may award a federal Major Disaster Declaration for the affected area. This declaration may include assistance provided through Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program. This program assists eligible individuals and households who have losses or needs not covered by insurance. It is not a substitute for insurance and cannot compensate for all losses caused by a disaster. It is meant to meet the survivor's basic needs and supplement disaster recovery efforts.
Please consult FEMA's Individuals and Households Program Fact Sheet or FEMA Individual Disaster Assistance for more information about this program.
Active Disasters and How to Apply
CRISIS COUNSELING: The major disaster declaration (FEMA-4496-DR-MA) declared on March 28, 2020 for the Coronavirus (COVID-19 Pandemic includes Crisis Counseling Assistance as part of FEMA's Individual Assistance Program. The Crisis Counseling Assistance program will be managed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH). If you are looking for crisis counseling information, see the DMH webpage: COVID-19 Information about DMH programs and services.
FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, SBA Disaster Assistance Loans, and other assistance programs are meant to help those with critical expenses and serious needs. They are not substitutes for insurance and will not make you whole. Having insurance is always the best way to protect your financial investments.
Additional Programs and Resources
Additional Disaster Recovery Programs
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
- Disaster Legal Services
- Disaster Case Management Program
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- Taxes and Internal Revenue Service assistance
- Farm Service Agency (FSA) assistance for farmers
- More Resources and Information
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.