Hurricane Harvey

Recover from Hurricane Harvey.

What To Do After a Hurricane

As the recovery process for Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma continues, federal officials offer the following advice:  

  1. Apply for disaster assistance. The quickest way to apply for federal disaster assistance is online through If you don't have access to the Internet, you can apply by phone. Call 1-800-621-3362. 
  2. Don't return home until local officials tell you it's safe. Before you enter your house, check for safety hazards like loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. Learn what else to check before and after you enter.
  3. Be on the lookout for scam artists and fraud. Remember you never have to pay a fee to apply for federal disaster assistance. If someone tells you that you do, it's a scam. Other common fraud includes phony house inspectors and fake donation requests. Follow these tips to avoid scams and fraud after a disaster.
  4. Find help if you're feeling distressed. You can talk to a professional who can help you cope with emotional distress from the storm by calling the Disaster Distress Line at 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746.
  5. Know where to find trusted information. After major storms, rumors circulate and scammers may try to take advantage of you. Make sure you know what's real and what's fake. Check FEMA's rumor control page for Maria or for Harvey for trusted storm and recovery updates. 


For the latest information (in multiple languages) on Harvey, visit or follow USAGov and FEMA on Twitter.

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Find Out If You're Eligible and How to Apply for Disaster Assistance

St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and some counties in Texas, and Florida, and some municipalities in Puerto Rico are eligible for individual disaster assistance. 

There are several ways to see if you qualify for financial assistance:

Currently, the application process is much faster online. If you have access to the Internet, apply that way. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Other Forms of Financial Assistance

After a disaster there are several forms of financial assistance you might qualify for. Find out about SBA disaster recovery loans, disaster unemployment assistance and other types of assistance

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Infographic: What to Expect After You Apply for FEMA Aid

Learn what happens after you apply for federal disaster 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

Inspectors will:

  • 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.

Inspectors won't:

  • determine eligibility.
  • 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.

If you have questions regarding the letter, you can visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area or call us at 800-621-3362 (711/Video Relay Service). For TTY, call 800-462-7585.

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Returning Home After a Disaster

Wait to return to your property until local officials have declared that the area is safe.

Before you enter, check for safety hazards like loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. Learn what else to check before and after you enter.

As clean-up begins, review a list of items requiring special disposal and get tips on how to safely clean up your home to prevent injury and illness.

Natural disasters can cause damage to records and heirloom treasures such as family papers, books, photographs, and other media. Find guidelines for saving family treasures and what to do with wet documents. Learn how to get replacement copies of your vital documents.

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How to Replace Your Lost or Destroyed Vital Documents

Replacing all vital documents that were lost or destroyed in a flood, fire, or other disaster can be overwhelming. Although the process varies state to state, these general steps can help you get started.

  1. Replace your birth certificate. Find the vital records office in the state where you were born. Check to find out if you can obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate without any identification and follow the instructions. A few states don’t require a government-issued photo ID, or accept other solutions like a sworn statement of your identity. Some states allow your mother or father whose name is on the birth certificate to submit a notarized letter with a copy of their photo ID. If you do need your own government-issued photo ID to get a copy of your birth certificate, start with step 2.

  2. Replace your driver’s license. Get this first if you cannot get your birth certificate. This task varies state to state. In some states, you can do it online.

  3. Replace your marriage certificate. You’ll need a certified copy as proof if you changed your name when you got married. Contact the vital records office in the state where you were married.

  4. Replace your Social Security card. You will need a government-issued photo ID. Getting a replacement card is free.

  5. Replace your passport. Report your lost or destroyed passport to the Department of State. To apply for a new passport, you’ll need to fill out a form DS-11 and go to a passport acceptance facility or agency. You’ll need your birth certificate or a certified copy, and a government-issued photo ID.

  6. Replace other important documents. Your state or local election office can tell you how to replace your voter registration card. Contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to find out how to replace naturalization or citizenship documents. Learn how to replace other documents including Medicare and Medicaid cards and military and federal employee IDs.

Government agencies usually mail replacement vital documents. But if your home was destroyed in a disaster, you might not be able to get your mail. Contact your local post office and ask if you can pick up your mail there or request to have your mail forwarded to a temporary location.

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Gas Price Gouging

After an emergency, such as a hurricane or tornado, gas stations may raise gas prices to levels that are very high, unreasonable, and unfair. This is called price gouging and it is illegal. If you believe that you are a victim of price gouging, contact your state attorney general.

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Help Survivors of a Natural Disaster

After a disaster, many people want to volunteer their services or donate money or goods. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides information and tips on volunteering and donating responsibly after a natural disaster.  

Do not just "show up" to volunteer assistance. This actually makes things harder for responders. The following groups and organizations provide information on helping survivors of natural disasters:

Charity Scams

Make sure your donations are going to the people that need help. Learn how to spot Hurricane scams.

If you suspect you've encountered disaster fraud report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721. The line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, emails can be sent to, and information can be faxed to (225) 334-4707.

FEMA Hiring Temporary Workers 

FEMA is currently hiring temporary workers in several locations across the United States and Puerto Rico to support hurricane response and recovery efforts. Find a list of available positions and how to apply.

Small Business Administration Hiring Temporary Workers

The Small Business Administration is hiring for a variety of temporary positions to assist with hurricane disaster activity. Learn more about the available job openings and how to apply.

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Latest News and Images of Tropical Storm Harvey

These are the latest alerts and updates related to tropical storm Harvey from across the federal government. We'll continue to update this list as more information is available.

Health and Safety

Travel and Transportation

Citizenship and Immigration

Money and Taxes

Storm Imagery

Public Safety and Community Support

Working Group to Fight Hurricane Harvey-Related Crime

Federal and state law enforcement agencies have formed a working group to investigate and prosecute illegal activity related to Hurricane Harvey.

  • Call the Disaster Fraud Hotline to report disaster-related crime 1-866-720-5721
  • Call the Texas Attorney General Office to report price gouging or fraud 1-800-621-0508 or file a complaint via the web

For the Media

For Federal Employees and Agencies

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Last Updated: November 01, 2017

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