Frequently Asked Questions About Disasters

This page offers answers to frequently asked questions about Individual Assistance for disaster survivors.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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Can FEMA reimburse me for my lodging expenses?

FEMA may be able to provide Lodging Expense Reimbursement (LER)  for out-of-pocket lodging expenses, but only if these expenses are not covered through other means, such as insurance.

To be considered for LER, you must meet basic eligibility criteria for assistance and FEMA must verify that your home is unlivable, inaccessible, or affected by an extended disaster-caused utility outage. You must also submit verifiable documentation, such as receipts, of your lodging expenses.

I have insurance, can I still get reimbursed for my lodging expenses?

By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits provided through insurance. Many insurance policies include Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or Loss of Use (LOU) coverage, which provides money to cover lodging costs when you are unable to live in your home due to a disaster. If your insurance does not include ALE or LOU, or if the money provided by your insurance does not cover all your lodging expenses, you can submit your insurance documentation to FEMA to be considered for Lodging Expense Reimbursement.

What is Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA)?

Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) is a FEMA program that allows for temporary, short-term accommodations for eligible applicants when other housing options are not available.

Will FEMA pay insurance deductibles for disaster survivors?

FEMA may provide financial assistance to approved applicants for their uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs. FEMA does not cover insurance deductibles as a standalone, disaster-related cost. Applicants should submit any insurance proceeds or denials to FEMA so we can individually evaluate your eligibility if you have remaining unmet needs.

As a renter, what types of help could I be eligible for?

Grants may be available to rent or pay for a different place to live for a limited time while repairs are made to your rental home or until it is livable. Rental grants may be used for security deposits, rent and the cost of essential utilities, such as gas and water. The grants may not be used to pay for separate cable or internet bills.

Can I use my rental assistance grant to stay in a hotel/motel?

The funds can be used to stay in another temporary place to live, which includes a hotel/motel. The rental assistance grant is equivalent to the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for the area the primary home is located in.

My personal property was damaged, is there financial help available for my losses?

Assistance is available for eligible survivors, including renters, with uninsured and underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs. This may include funds to replace or repair necessary personal property, a vehicle, uninsured or out-of-pocket medical, dental, childcare, moving and storage expenses.

Are Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), Lodging Expense Reimbursement (LER), and rental assistance all the same?

No. They are different.

TSA is a FEMA program that is approved for eligible disasters. It allows for temporary, short-term lodging at a participating hotel/motel, that FEMA pays for directly. Survivors may not request TSA. Those who are eligible will be contacted by FEMA about their eligibility.

If you need short-term lodging at a hotel or motel because you cannot stay at your home due to the disaster, FEMA may be able to reimburse your out-of-pocket lodging expenses (room and tax) through Lodging Expense Reimbursement.

Rental assistance is money to rent alternate housing accommodations, like an apartment, while your home is being repaired or until you find a permanent post-disaster housing solution. For applicants who have a documented, continued temporary housing need, Rental Assistance may be available for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster.

What if I returned home to find damage I did not know about previously?

If you returned home and discovered property damage, update your application with FEMA by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

Property damage will be evaluated by a FEMA inspector.

What if I already applied with FEMA and was later evicted?

If you have already applied for FEMA assistance but were later evicted due to damage to other parts of your home, you should call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or visit a local FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), if available. You can contact FEMA even if you were previously not approved for FEMA assistance and FEMA may still be able to help. Check the FEMA App or visit the FEMA DRC Locator to find the locations and hours of operation of the temporary disaster recovery centers. You will need to provide FEMA with documentation demonstrating your eviction was due to the disaster.

Last updated September 27, 2022