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What to Expect After Applying for FEMA Assistance

Release date: 
January 31, 2020
Release Number: 
DR-4473-PR NR-08

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico – If you were affected by the recent series of earthquakes, you may be eligible for assistance from FEMA.

FEMA’s Individual Assistance program may provide some financial assistance for disaster-related needs such as child care, medical or dental care, or funeral expenses as well as grants for damaged or uninhabitable housing. FEMA also provides referrals to other agencies that may be able to help.

If you haven’t already done so, file a claim with your insurance company. If you have uninsured or underinsured losses, contact FEMA to apply for federal assistance by going online to or by calling 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Keep in mind that FEMA will not provide benefits you receive from insurance and other sources.

While you are waiting for your insurance settlement or a decision from FEMA, don’t wait to start the clean-up process. Be sure to take photographs or video recordings of damage and keep all receipts for repairs and disaster-related expenses.

Once you apply, FEMA will contact you to schedule an assessment of the damage to your home and essential personal property. All FEMA assessors have FEMA-issued photo identification badges. Always make sure the assessor shows you this identification badge when they arrive.

FEMA assessors check your home for damage from the earthquake, but they cannot make decisions about building safety. If you are not sure your home is legally safe to occupy, contact your municipal officials.

The FEMA assessment generally takes 40 minutes or less to verify your disaster-related losses, review your ownership and residence records. There is no fee for the assessment. Once the assessment process is complete, your situation will be reviewed by FEMA. You will receive a letter or an email notifying you to check your account at, which outlines FEMA’s decisions about your request for assistance.

If you have any questions, you can review your account online at or contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). If you use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 800-621-3362.

For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit the Government of Puerto Rico,, and 


FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 711 for Video Relay Service. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish.) TTY call 800-462-7585.

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Last Updated: 
January 31, 2020 - 16:32