Critical Needs Assistance

Release Date:
September 1, 2020

FEMA may provide financial assistance to applicants who have immediate or critical needs because they are displaced from their primary dwelling. Immediate or critical needs are life- saving and life-sustaining items including, but not limited to: water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation.

Critical Needs Assistance (CNA) is awarded under the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) provision of the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Funds awarded for CNA count toward an

applicant’s financial ONA maximum for that disaster, which is an annually-adjusted amount based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index. CNA is a one-time $500 payment per household. An affected state, territorial, or tribal government must submit a written request to FEMA to implement CNA. FEMA’s Individual Assistance Division Director may authorize assistance when the majority of applicants from the declared area are, or will be, displaced from their primary residence for an extended period of time, generally 7 days or more.

Applicants may be eligible for CNA if they:

  • Complete a FEMA registration;
  • Pass FEMA’s identity verification process;
  • At registration, assert that they have critical needs and request financial assistance for those needs and expenses.
  • Have a pre-disaster primary residence located in an area designated for CNA.
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