Find out how to get emergency financial help from the government if you've been the victim of a disaster. This can include disaster unemployment assistance, special home loans for disaster victims, and disaster tax relief.
You may be able to get short-term financial help for your family’s food following a disaster. If the president authorizes individual disaster assistance for your area, you may qualify for D-SNAP—disaster supplemental nutrition assistance. D-SNAP provides one month’s worth of benefits on a debit-type card that you can use at most grocery stores. Once your state sets up a D-SNAP program, you’ll have about a week to apply. If you qualify, you’ll receive benefits within three days.
Following a disaster, you may lose work or face big expenses, like repairing your home. So even if your normal household income wouldn’t qualify you for regular SNAP (food stamp) benefits, you may qualify for D-SNAP. If you already receive SNAP, you can apply for D-SNAP if the amount you’d receive is more than you get under SNAP.
Following a disaster, your children or your entire family may also be able to get free meals through the school meals programs.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
You need emergency financial help to repair or rebuild your home, and you’ve applied for a SBA disaster loan. Next, a FEMA inspector will contact you to arrange a visit. Learn how to prepare for the inspector’s visit, what the inspector will do during the visit, and what will happen after it.
What to Expect After You Apply for FEMA Aid
You may receive an application to apply for a low-interest, long term SBA Disaster Loan. Completing the SBA loan application is an important step in finding out what aid may be available to you.
As a homeowner you may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace your primary residence and up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. You are not required to accept the loan to receive FEMA assistance, but it may enable you to be considered for different types of assistance.
After you apply
An inspector will contact you to schedule a visit.
Be ready to:
Keep your schedule appointment:
Appointments take 30-40 minutes, and you must be present.
Contact your insurance agent if you have insurance
Prove your identity.
Show these documents:
Photo ID: driver's license or passport
Proof of occupancy: lease or utility bill
Proof of ownership: deed, title, mortgage payment book, or tax receipts
During the Inspector's Visit
wear official FEMA ID badges.
confirm your disaster registration number.
review structural and personal property damage.
ask you to sign official documentation.
verify ownership and occupancy.
cost any money.
ask for credit card information.
take the place of an insurance inspection.
After the Inspector's Visit
You will be sent a decision letter.
If you are approved for aid:
You will receive a check or an electronic funds transfer.
A follow-up letter will explain how the funds can be used.
Mortgages for Homeowners Rebuilding After a Disaster
If you lost your home due to a major disaster, you may qualify for an insured mortgage. You can use an insured mortgage to finance the purchase or reconstruction of a single family home that will be your principal residence.
No down payment is required. You must pay closing costs and prepaid expenses in cash or through premium pricing, or the seller can pay them, subject to a 6 percent seller concessions limit.
FHA mortgage insurance is not free. Lenders collect from the borrowers an up-front insurance premium (which may be financed) at the time of purchase, as well as monthly premiums that are not financed, but instead are added to the regular mortgage payment.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets limits on the amount that may be insured. FHA sets limits on the dollar value of the mortgage, to make sure that its programs serve low and moderate income people. You can view the current FHA mortgage limits online. These figures vary over time and by place, depending on the cost of living and other factors (higher limits also exist for two to four family properties).
For more information on the no-down payment program:
Scammers and identity thieves often target people affected by disaster. Most scams involve some aspect of applying for disaster assistance. Learn what to do to protect yourself from disaster relief fraud.
Contact the Disaster Relief Fraud Hotline to report:
Fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations
Fraud committed by an individual or entity outside of the U.S. government related to a natural disaster
Someone for filing a false damage claim
You may contact the Disaster Relief Fraud Hotline at:
Phone: 1-866-720-5721 (The hotline is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week) Fax: 1-225-334-4707 Email: email@example.com Address: National Center for Disaster Fraud Baton Rouge LA 70821-4909
If You Are Unable to Resolve an Issue with a Government Agency
If you are unable to resolve an issue with a federal agency, contact the office of the Inspector General of that agency. To file a complaint against a state or territory government agency, contact the agency directly.
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