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Additional Assistance for Disasters

This page provides information regarding other 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/Tribe.

Available Assistance

Additional Forms of 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

Section 416 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974 authorizes FEMA to fund mental health assistance and training activities in Presidentially declared major disaster areas. This support is available through the Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP), which is a supplemental program available to the fifty United States and U.S. Territories. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) - Emergency Mental Health and Traumatic Stress Services Branch (EMHTSSB) works with FEMA through an interagency agreement to provide technical assistance, consultation, and training for State and local mental health personnel, grant administration and program oversight.

Program Overview

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: (1) the Immediate Services Program (ISP) which provides funds for up to 60 days of services immediately following a disaster declaration; and (2) 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.

Key Principles

The CCP is guided by the following key principles. It is:

  • Strengths Based—CCP services promote resilience, empowerment, and recovery.
  • Anonymous—Crisis counselors do not classify, label, or diagnose people; no records or case files are kept.
  • Outreach Oriented—Crisis counselors deliver services in the communities rather than wait for survivors to seek their assistance.
  • Culturally Sensitive—The CCP model embraces cultural and spirtitual diversity as reflective in culturally relevant outreach activities that represent the communities served.
  • Conducted in Nontraditional Settings— Crisis counselors make contact in homes and communities, not in clinical or office settings.
  • Designed to Strengthen Existing Community Support Systems—The CCP supplements, but does not supplant or replace, existing community systems.

Crisis Counseling Assistance & Training Program Fact Sheet

Disaster Case Management

The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) is a federally funded grant program authorized by Section 426 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), as amended,  (42 U.S.C. § 5189d) and administred by FEMA.  In the event of a Presidentially declared disaster which includes Individual Assistance, the Governor of the impacted State may request the implementation of the DCMP.  The 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.

The DCMP process involves:

  • An assessment of the survivor’s verified disaster-caused unmet needs
  • Development of a goal-oriented plan that outlines the steps necessary to achieve recovery
  • Organization and coordination of information on available resources that match the disaster-caused need,
  • Monitoring of progress toward reaching the recovery plan goals, and
  • Client advocacy, when necessary.

DCMP, in partnership with the affected State or Tribe, enables a whole community approach through funding support to voluntary, faith-based and nonprofit organizations.

Disaster Case Management Fact Sheet

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to individuals who have become unemployed as a result of a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Benefits begin with the date the individual was unemployed due to the disaster incident and can extend up to 26 weeks after the Presidential declaration date. These benefits are made available to individuals not covered by other unemployment compensation programs, such as self-employed, farmers, migrant and seasonal workers, and those who have insufficient quarters to qualify for other unemployment compensation.

All unemployed individuals must register with the State's employment services office before they can receive DUA benefits.  When a Presedential disaster is declared, the U.S.Department of Labor (DOL) oversees the DUA program in coordination with FEMA.  DUA is administrated by the State Unemployment Insurance agency.

Disaster Unemployment Fact Sheet

Disaster Legal Services

When the President declares a disaster, FEMA, through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, provides free legal assistance to disaster victims. Legal advice is limited to cases that will not produce a fee (i.e., these attorneys work without payment). 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 (DLS) is 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 Legal Services Fact Sheet

Special Tax Considerations

Taxpayers who have sustained a casualty (sudden, unexpected or unusual) loss from a declared disaster may deduct that loss on the federal income tax return for the year in which the casualty actually occurred, or elect to deduct the loss on the tax return for the preceding tax year. In order to deduct a casualty loss, the amount of the loss must exceed 10 percent of the adjusted gross income for the tax year by at least $100. If the loss was sustained from a federally declared disaster, the taxpayer may choose which of those two tax years provides the better tax advantage.

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 does not need an Individual Assistance declaration. It 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.  Publication Number 2194 'Disaster Loss Kit' can be ordered from the United States Internal Revenue Services as a resource guide.

Last Updated: 
02/26/2018 - 12:34