What Information Does FEMA Ask for When Applying for Disaster Assistance?

Release Date:
July 5, 2022

It can be intimidating to fill out a government form to get help when you have been through so much. Knowing what you will be asked on the FEMA application and what information you need to have at hand can help you feel ready.

Preparing for the FEMA application 

  • The FEMA application asks many questions for which you will have readily available, like your name, home address and the names of people you live with.
  • Some required information you need to gather ahead of time, such as each family member’s Social Security number.
  • If your home was damaged and you had to move to a friend’s home, a hotel or somewhere else, be sure you know the address where you are staying and what the phone number is.

Common misunderstandings

  • When asked for your “damaged phone number,” give the phone number you used at your home at the time of the event.
  • FEMA asks you about damage to your house and to your personal property. Personal property is anything that isn’t land or part of the building, so it includes appliances, clothing, furniture and anything else that was yours.
  • If you or anyone in your household has a disability or language need, and need to interact with FEMA or recovery disability-related losses, it is important to answer yes to the appropriate questions when completing the registration for FEMA disaster assistance. You will be asked to identify what you need to help you throughout your recovery process. Examples of the type of questions you can expect include:
    • Do you have a disability or language need that requires an accommodation to interact with FEMA staff and/or access FEMA programs?
    • Do you or anyone in your household have a disability that affects your ability to perform activities of daily living or requires an assistive device?
    • Did you have any disability-related assistive devices or medically required equipment/supplies/support services damaged, destroyed, lost, or disrupted because of the disaster?
  • One question that can be misunderstood asks if you are willing to relocate. This question means do you feel you will need to relocate while repairs are made. You are not committing to move away to a new home.

Important reminder

  • If you don’t understand something when applying online, you can click “Help for this page” on the top left side of the form for more helpful information.

Uploading receipts and other documents

Steps to upload documents online

  • Step 1: Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Step 2: Select Check Status
  • Step 3: Login or create your online account
  • Step 4: Select the Correspondence tab
  • Step 5: Select Upload Center
  • Step 6: Follow the online instructions

Four things to include on all documents

  • Name
  • Last four digits of your Social Security number
  • FEMA Application Number: XXX-XXXX-XX
  • FEMA Disaster Number: DR-4657-OK  

When information is received, it is manually scanned into your file, creating a work packet that starts the processing of your request. An assistance specialist will review all the facts in your file and make a determination. This process can take several weeks.

How to apply

  • The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • If it is not possible to apply online, call 800-621-3362.  The toll-free telephone lines operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT seven days a week. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.
  • If you have difficulty with any of the questions during the registration process, we have people who can help. You can call the Disaster Assistance Helpline at 800.621.3362. If you use a relay service, such as a videophone, InnoCaption, or CapTel, give FEMA the number for that service.
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