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.
If the president authorizes individual disaster assistance for your area, you may qualify for D-SNAP. The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is also known as food stamps for disaster situations.
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.
You may qualify for D-SNAP even if you wouldn't qualify for regular SNAP (food stamps) because:
You may be out of work due to the disaster.
You may be facing costly home repairs.
If you already receive SNAP, you can apply for D-SNAP if the amount you’d receive is more than you get under SNAP.
As a separate benefit, you may be able to get free meals for your children or your entire family. This is provided through the school meals programs.
Temporary Jobs Helping Communities Recover From a Disaster
If you want to get paid to help your community after a disaster, consider working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They usually have many temporary openings at a disaster site that they try to fill with local residents. The jobs last 120 days and may be extended. Start at the FEMA Temporary Local Hires page for more information.
You can also find jobs at FEMA's Hurricane Workforce page. Many of these are local. But many others are for longer duration and require you to travel to disaster sites in other areas.
Infographic: FEMA Disaster Relief for Your Home
After you apply for disaster relief from FEMA, you'll go through a series of steps to determine your eligibility. Learn how the process works and how to prepare.
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 scheduled 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
Charge 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'll receive a check or an electronic funds transfer.
You'll get a follow-up letter explaining 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 the mortgage to rebuild your home or to buy another one. It must be a single family home and your main residence.
The mortgage insurance for disaster victims program helps homeowners recover by making it easier to get a mortgage. The program is also known as Section 203(h). It’s offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
You don't have to make a down payment. You do have to pay closing costs and prepaid expenses. Or, the seller can pay them.
FHA mortgage insurance is not free. You must pay a premium upfront and regular monthly premiums with your mortgage payment.
The government sets limits on the amount that may be insured and on the dollar value of the mortgage itself. See the current FHA mortgage limits. These figures vary by location depending on the cost of living and other factors.
For more information on the no down payment program:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers special tax help for individuals and businesses recovering from a major disaster or emergency. In a federally-declared disaster area, you can get a faster refund by filing an amended return. You will need to claim the disaster-related losses on your tax return for the previous year.