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Programs to Support Disaster Survivors

FEMA has several Individual Assistance programs designed to support disaster survivors. You can apply now at DisasterAssistance.gov or review the following types of assistance to determine what best suits your needs.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides unemployment benefits and re-employment assistance services to survivors affected by a disaster. Benefits are usually paid for up to 26 weeks post the disaster declaration. This assistance is only available to those survivors who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance. State law determines the amount of financial assistance a survivor may receive, so the amount of services varies state-to-state and disaster-to-disaster. Download the disaster unemployment assistance fact sheet to learn more.

Individuals may contact the Disaster Unemployment Assistance at 1-866-487-2365 or their local state unemployment insurance agency.

Mass Care and Emergency Assistance

Mass Care and Emergency Assistance services are provided immediately before a potential incident and during the immediate response to an incident. Staff and resources are deployed to local response centers to effected areas. Services offered include: sheltering; feeding; distribution of emergency supplies; support for individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs; reunification services for adults and children; support for household pets, service animals, and assistance animals; and mass evacuee support. All impacted survivors are eligible to receive these services.

Use the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Locator to find a center that offers these resources.

Review our guidance and planning considerations for providing mass care during a pandemic.

Individuals and Households Program Assistance

Through the Individual and Households Program, FEMA provides assistance to individuals and families who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially declared disaster, and also helps with other needs such as for disaster-caused childcare, medical expenses or clean-up items.

Visit our Housing and Other Individual Needs page to learn more, or go to DisasterAssistance.gov to apply for the Individual and Households Program.

Disaster Case Management Program

Disaster Case Management involves partnerships between a case manager and a disaster survivor. The intention of this program is to assess and address a survivor’s unmet needs through a disaster recovery plan. This disaster recovery plan includes resources, decision-making priorities, providing guidance, and tools to assist disaster survivors.

Review the toolkit to learn how to apply for the Disaster Case Management Program.

Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program

Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program provides additional funding to assist disaster-impacted individuals and communities in recovering from major disasters through community-based outreach and psycho-educational services. The goal is to aid survivors in recovering from the adverse reactions to disasters and to begin to rebuild their lives. Services offered include funding for supportive crisis counseling, psycho-education, development of coping skills, and linkage to appropriate resources.

Learn how to apply for Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training grants.

Disaster Legal Services provide legal aid to survivors affected by a presidentially declared major disaster. These services are available to survivors who qualify as low-income and are limited to cases that would not normally incur legal fees. Typically, the types of legal assistance offered include help with insurance claims (e.g. health, property, or life), recovery or reproduction of legal documents lost in the disaster, help with home repairs and disputes with contractors and/or landlords, the preparation of powers of attorney and guardianship materials, and FEMA appeals.

Learn more about Disaster Legal Services on DisasterAssistance.gov's legal services page.

Voluntary Agency Coordination

Voluntary agencies are among the first to provide survivor support services post-disaster and continue to support affected areas throughout the recovery period. The work of these organizations complements federal assistance and may support gaps in coverage. FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Coordinators support communities in conducting unmet needs assessments and organizing early coordination efforts, as well as developing and guiding local long-term recovery groups created to assist individuals and families with the recovery process.

Visit the Volunteer and Donate page to learn more, or email us if you have additional questions.

Additional Survivor Resources

There are many tools and resources on Ready.gov to help prepare before a disaster or get support after, including:

Please Note

Disaster assistance programs through FEMA's Individual Assistance program are intended to meet only essential needs and are not intended to cover all losses. Some people qualify for assistance from more than one program; you may be receiving additional help from other federal and voluntary agencies.

Last updated August 3, 2020