FEMA Assistance: How To Apply For Federal Disaster Assistance


FEMA Assistance: How To Apply For Federal Disaster Assistance

In this guide, I will show you how to apply for FEMA’s federal disaster assistance.

If you have been impacted by a major disaster like a hurricane or winter storm, you may qualify to receive help from the federal government. If you qualify for FEMA assistance you can receive federal aid to help you quickly recover from any damage that your home suffered, a loss of income, food, or an automobile.

To find out if you qualify for federal assistance, you will first have to apply for FEMA and in this article, you will learn everything you need to know about steps you should take after a major disaster.

What Is The Federal Emergency Management Agency?

FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is a federal emergency assistance program in the United States that helps you when there is a presidential declaration of a disaster in your area. 

What Disasters Can The Federal Emergency Management Agency Help With?

FEMA helps Americans who have been affected by natural disasters or man-made disasters. Examples of disasters that FEMA can help you with include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Winter storms
  • Wildfires
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes
  • Pandemics like COVID-19 
  • Terrorist attacks

If you visit the  “Current Disaster Responses” page, you will see a list of national emergencies that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is helping with. 

What Determines A FEMA Disaster?

A FEMA disaster must be declared by the President of the United States. If there is enough damage in your area, by a hurricane for example, then the president could declare our area a disaster. 

What Kind Of Federal Assistance Does FEMA Offer?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency can offer you the following types of federal assistance after a disaster: 

  • Help with home repairs
  • Funds for temporary housing/lodging after a disaster
  • Help with funeral expenses that were a result of the disaster
  • Assistance paying for medical services if you were injured as a result of the disaster
  • Help with personal property losses like a vehicle after a disaster
  • Assistance removing debris after a federal disaster
  • Small business loans if your business was impacted
  • Disaster unemployment if you lost earnings due to a disaster impacting your job

You can learn about more ways that the Federal Emergency Management Agency helps after a federal disaster by visiting the Individual Assistance page on the FEMA website. You can learn about disaster recover resources for individuals with disability by visiting the DisasterAssistance.gov Disabilities page

Eligibility For Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance

To qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance after a federal disaster you must: 

  • Live in a FEMA declared disaster area. 
  • Show proof that you are a U.S. citizen or be a qualified alien. 
  • Prove that any property damaged is owned by you. 
  • Have an unmet need after insurance has denied you. 

To learn more about the eligibility requirements to receive help after a disaster visit the Eligibility Criteria for FEMA Assistance page

3 Ways To Apply for FEMA Assistance

To apply for FEMA assistance you have two options:

  1. Call FEMA at 800.621.3362 to register for disaster assistance over the phone.
  2. Visit the FEMA website to apply for disaster assistance.
  3. Use the FEMA app to apply for federal assistance after a disaster. 

If you need help completing your application, your local health department or American Red Cross typically offers in-person assistance registering for disaster relief. Simply contact either of these agencies and ask if their or office where you can visit to get help applying for federal aid assistance.


If you are impacted by a natural disaster like a hurricane, flood, or winter storm you may be eligible to receive federal assistance from FEMA. In order to receive help after a disaster you will need to register for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Assistance is not guaranteed, but the good thing about registering is FEMA will help to connect you to any assistance programs that you may qualify for. 

To learn more about disaster assistance visit the FEMA website or call them at 800.621.3362

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Nick Bryant is a Counselor with 11 years of experience working in community health. He enjoys concerts, walks with the doggo and wife, mocking Dallas Cowboy fans, and sharing community resources. Jump on the Houston Case Managers email list to receive weekly community resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.

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