Depending on your preference at the time of your application, you will receive notification letters from FEMA either by U.S. mail or by electronic correspondence. Even if you do not select electronic correspondence at the time of your application, you may set-up an online account at any time to view your disaster assistance file.
A FEMA Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) online account may be created at DisasterAssistance.gov. You will be instructed to create a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) for secure access to your disaster assistance application information.
Within your online account, you can:
- Review your disaster assistance application information
- Provide updates pertaining to your personal information and needs
- View letters and messaging sent to you by FEMA
- Get details on additional documents that FEMA needs to process your assistance
- Upload documents your file
- Review information that FEMA has received from you
If FEMA is unable to verify your identity during the application process, you will be required to submit supporting documents.
Supporting Documents for Identity Verification
Documentation to verify your identity
- Documentation from the Social Security Administration, or other federal entity, containing full or last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN)
- Social Security card if sent with federal or state-issued identification
- Employer’s payroll document containing full or last four digits of your SSN
- Military identification
- Marriage license to confirm proof of maiden name
- U.S. passport
If you applied for assistance on behalf of a U.S. minor (child) citizen for your household, you must send FEMA the following:
Any of the documents listed to the left, if in the child’s name OR
Child’s birth certificate AND a copy of the child’s Social Security card or documentation from the Social Security Administration, or other federal entity, containing the full or last four digits of the child’s SSN.
After you apply with FEMA, your request for assistance is reviewed to determine if a home inspection is needed to verify disaster-caused damage to your home and property. If an inspection is necessary and you cannot be present for the inspection, you can arrange for someone else to accompany the inspector. Your representative must be a household member prior to the disaster that is 18 or older.
You should have the following information ready at the time of the inspection:
- Your photo identification
- Proof of ownership/occupancy of damaged residence
- Insurance documents for your home and/or auto
- List of household occupants living in the home at the time of disaster
- All disaster-caused damages to both real and personal property
Please keep in mind that FEMA inspectors carry official FEMA photo identification and will identify themselves prior to conducting a home inspection. FEMA inspectors are trained to recognize damage caused by a disaster, but they do not decide if you will receive assistance. They observe and record damage that may be eligible within the Individuals and Households Program, which is different from assessments made by insurance adjusters or other disaster assistance programs, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration. Please keep in mind that FEMA inspectors will not physically access certain areas of your home, such as crawl spaces, attics and roofs.
After Your Home Inspection
Your assistance will be determined by comparing your recorded essential losses and serious needs to the types of assistance available within FEMA programs and services. FEMA assistance may not meet all of your disaster needs and is not a replacement for insurance coverage.
If you have insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company immediately and preferably before applying for FEMA assistance. Filing a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible will help to prevent delays in receiving FEMA assistance. FEMA cannot aid with losses already covered by insurance. If your insurance does not cover all your losses or is delayed, you may be eligible for FEMA assistance regarding your unmet needs.
Based on your communication preference at the time of your application, you will receive either a letter or electronic correspondence within 10 days of the home inspection. The letter will explain whether you are eligible for assistance, how much assistance you will receive, how the assistance must be used, and how to appeal FEMA’s decision if you do not agree with it.