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I Applied for Assistance. What's Next?

Review Your Application

Identity Verification

Submit Documentation

Home Inspection

If you have insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company immediately when you apply 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.

You may be scheduled for a home inspection. Based on your communication preference at the time of your application, you will receive either a letter or electronic correspondence. 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.

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 is not the same as insurance nor can it make the survivor whole. Federal assistance from FEMA only provides funds for the basic repairs for a home to be safe, sanitary and livable. You may also be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, for low-interest disaster loans to further assist with your recovery.

Reviewing Your Application on DisasterAssistance.gov

You can create an online FEMA Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) account 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

Identity Verification

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.

Submitting Documentation

You can visit DisasterAssistance.gov to submit documentation and check the status of your application online.

Realizing an online system alone may not meet the needs of survivors, FEMA also set up Documentation Drop-off Centers where survivors can apply for assistance, ask questions, have their documents scanned into their case file and returned to them on-site. The centers operate under strict COVID-19 protocols. Masks or face coverings are required for service and survivors remain in their cars while a FEMA specialist answers questions and handles paperwork.

Find a Disaster Recovery and Document Drop-off Center

Video: FEMA’s Document Drop Off Centers Assist Michigan Disaster Survivors

Watch a video to see an example of one of our document drop-off centers, which have been set up to be able to continue to safely provide services to applicants during this pandemic who may not have access to internet.

Home Inspection

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. To protect the health of survivors and inspectors in a COVID-19 environment, FEMA began conducting remote inspections.

If you reported during registration that you received minimal damage and can live in your home, you will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection. Instead, you will receive a letter explaining how to call the FEMA Helpline to request an inspection if you find significant disaster-caused damage to your home after you applied.

Remote Inspections

For remote inspections, FEMA inspectors contact applicants by phone to answer questions about the type and extent of damage sustained.

Remote inspections provide a new way to evaluate damage; and the remote process actually expedites the delivery of recovery assistance to survivor.

Download the remote inspection fact sheet.

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What to Expect After You Apply for FEMA Assistance

Information to Gather for Your Inspection

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

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.

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If you receive a letter stating that you are ineligible for assistance or that your application is incomplete, you can still complete the application or appeal the decision within 60 days of receiving a decision letter. Learn more.

Last updated November 18, 2020