This page provides information regarding forms of assistance that may be available to disaster survivors. Please note that not all programs are available for all disasters. Additionally, some programs require an approved application from an impacted State or Territory.
Available Forms of Assistance
- Individual Disaster Assistance
- Small Business Administration Disaster Loans
- Community Services Programs
- Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- Disaster Legal Services
- Disaster Case Management
- Special Tax Considerations
Additional Forms of Assistance
- Visit DisasterAssistance.gov for online:
- Disaster information
- Local Resources
- Recovery Help
- Registration for Individual Assistance
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several types of low interest disaster loans including:
- Home and Personal Property Loans - Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to replace or repair their primary residence.
- Business Physical Disaster Loans - The SBA makes physical disaster loans of up to $2 million to qualified businesses or most private nonprofit organizations.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) - The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
- Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) - The SBA provides funds to help an eligible small business meet its ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to, because an essential employee was called-up to active duty in his or her role as a military reservist.
Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program
The mission of the CCP is to assist individuals and communities in recovering from the effects of natural and human-caused disasters through the provision of community-based outreach and psycho-educational services. The CCP supports short-term interventions that involve the counseling goals of assisting disaster survivors in understanding their current situation and reactions, mitigating stress, assisting survivors in reviewing their disaster recovery options, promoting the use or development of coping strategies, providing emotional support, and encouraging linkages with other individuals and agencies who may help survivors in their recovery process (recover to their pre-disaster level of functioning).
Supplemental funding for crisis counseling is available to State Mental Health Authorities through two grant mechanisms:
- The Immediate Services Program (ISP) which provides funds for up to 60 days of services immediately following a disaster declaration.
- The Regular Services Program (RSP) which provides funds for up to nine months following a disaster declaration. While SAMHSA provides technical assistance for an ISP, the monitoring responsibility remains with FEMA.
FEMA has designated SAMHSA as the authority responsible for monitoring all RSP programs.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, authorizes the President to provide benefit assistance to individuals unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster. FEMA implements the program through an Interagency Agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program 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.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) oversees the DUA program in coordination with FEMA. DUA is administered by the State Unemployment Insurance agency which issues a press release throughout the declared disaster area announcing DUA availability.
When a major disaster has been declared by the President, DUA is generally available to any unemployed worker or self-employed individual who lived, worked, or was scheduled to work in the disaster area at the time of the disaster; and due to the disaster:
- No longer has a job or a place to work; or
- Cannot reach the place of work; or
- Cannot work due to damage to the place of work; or
- Cannot work because of an injury caused by the disaster.
An individual who becomes the head of household and is seeking work because the former head of household died as a result of the disaster may also qualify for DUA benefits.
This fact sheet outlines general information pertaining to the requirements and conditions under which an individual may be eligible for DUA. For additional information concerning the DUA program, individuals may contact the DOL at 1-866-487-2365 or their local State UI agency.
Disaster Legal Services
FEMA provides free legal assistance to disaster survivors through an agreement between FEMA and the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. Legal advice is limited to cases that will not produce a fee. Cases that may generate a fee are turned over to the local lawyer referral service.
The assistance that participating lawyers provide typically includes:
- Assistance with insurance claims (life, medical, property, etc.)
- Counseling on landlord/tenant problems
- Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures
- Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in a major disaster
Disaster legal services are provided to low-income individuals who, prior to or because of the disaster, are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their needs as a consequence of a major disaster.
Disaster Case Management
The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) is a federally funded grant program authorized by the Stafford Act and administrated by FEMA. DCMP provides funding and technical assistance to ensure the delivery of holistic services to disaster survivors and promotes:
- Effective delivery of post-disaster case management services
- Partner integration
- Provider capacity building
- State level program development
DCMP is a time-limited process that involves a partnership between a case manager and a disaster survivor to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the survivor with a single point of contact to facilitate access to a broad range of resources.
Special Tax Considerations
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can expedite refunds due to taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area. An expedited refund can be a relatively quick source of cash, does not need to be repaid, and is available to any taxpayer in a federally declared disaster area. Depending upon the circumstances the IRS may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes. The IRS provides information on tax relief, disaster preparation, information on reconstructing records, and contact information for local IRS offices and the Taxpayer Advocate.
Publication Number 2194 'Disaster Losses Kit' can be downloaded from the United States Internal Revenue Services as a resource guide.