Main Content

FACT SHEET: FEMA 101, Frequently Asked Questions.

Release date: 
November 7, 2018
Release Number: 
R4-DR-4399-FL FS 008

1. How does a survivor apply for assistance?
To apply online at :

  • Go to on your desktop, mobile or tablet device.
  • Click “Find Assistance” and answer questions for a personalized list of possible assistance.
  • Click “Apply Online” to complete a FEMA application.
  • After application completion you may return to the website and click “Check Status” for status.

To apply by phone for FEMA assistance:

1-800-621-3362 (also for 711 & VRS) TTY 1-800-462-7585

To apply for assistance from other agencies. You must follow the instructions provided for each program on   

 2. What information will a survivor need?

Before starting the application, please have the information below and a pen and paper ready.

Social Security Number

  • You, another adult member or minor in your household must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien and have a Social Security number.
  • If you do not have a Social Security number, follow the steps below.
  • Go to 
  • Click on “How do I apply for a new or replacement Social Security number card” in the “Most Popular FAQs” section.
  • Once you have your SSN number, go to or call FEMA to apply.


Insurance Information

  • List the type(s) of insurance you have. This could include coverage under policies like homeowners, flood, automobile, motorcycle or mobile home.
    Damage Information
  • Describe the damage caused by the disaster. Include the type of disaster (e.g., flood or hurricane) and the type of dwelling or vehicle (e.g., condo, house, mobile home, or car, truck, motorcycle).
    Financial Information
  • Provide your total annual household income, (before taxes), at the time of the disaster.
    Contact Information
  • Provide the street address and phone number of the property where the damage occurred. If you are unable to live in the damaged dwelling please provide the address of the place you are living and phone number (if different).
    Direct Deposit Information (optional)
  • If approved, funds may be directly deposited into your bank account. The following banking information is required:
    • Bank name
    • Type of account (like checking or savings)
    • Routing number
    • Account number 


  • If approved you may request the funds be provided to you by check, please note that this will delay the funds by at least two or three weeks.

3. What kinds of assistance are available to survivors who experienced damage to their residence? If you are a homeowner or renter, you must first apply at . Housing assistance under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) can provide financial help and direct services after a disaster. The program provides money, if you qualify, for necessary housing-related expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster.

4. What is the process for survivors to receive FEMA assistance? First you must apply at 


5. What services are available at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC)? DRC’s provide in-person help to answer questions and provide information about FEMA and other assistance programs. You also may ask questions about your case or seek guidance on other disaster-related issues. The services offered at each DRC may vary.


6. Are language and ASL interpreters available to assist survivors? Yes, but you must first call 1-800-621-3362 (also for 711 & VRS) TTY 1-800-462-7585 to arrange for an interpreter to come to the DRC closest to your location DRC Locator . You can also access videos at:


Do survivors need to be U.S. citizens to receive FEMA assistance? To qualify for assistance from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP), you or a member of your household must be one of the following:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Qualified minor child
  • The parent or guardian of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified alien applies for assistance on behalf of the child, as long as they live in the same household. The parent or legal guardian must register as the co-applicant.
  • Non-citizen national
  • Qualified alien

A qualified alien is a lawful permanent resident who has a green card. It could also be someone with legal status for any of the following:

  • Asylum
  • Refugee
  • Parole (admission into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons)
  • Withholding of deportation
  • Domestic violence
  • If you are unsure of your immigration status, talk to an immigration expert to learn if your status falls within the qualified alien category.

For more information please visit




FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.




Last Updated: 
December 6, 2018 - 15:37