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Programs to Support Disaster Survivors

FEMA has several Individual Assistance programs designed to support disaster survivors. You can apply at DisasterAssistance.gov or review the following types of assistance to determine what best suits your needs.

Individuals and Households Program Assistance

Through the Individuals and Households Program, FEMA provides assistance to individuals and families who have damage to their homes as a result of a presidentially declared disaster, and also helps with other needs such as for disaster-caused childcare, medical expenses or clean-up items.

Visit our Individuals and Households Program page to learn more or go to DisasterAssistance.gov to apply for disaster assistance.

Mass Care and Emergency Assistance

Mass Care and Emergency Assistance services are provided immediately before a potential incident and during the immediate response to an incident. Staff and resources are deployed to local response centers, and Mass Care and Emergency Assistance services are provided immediately before a potential incident and during the immediate response to an incident. Staff and resources are deployed to response centers located in affected areas.

All impacted survivors are eligible to receive assistance. Activities supported include:

  • Sheltering (congregate and non-congregate)
  • Feeding
  • Distribution of emergency supplies
  • Support to owners and their household pets, service and assistance animals
  • Support to adults and children with disabilities and others with access and functional needs
  • Mass evacuee support
  • Reunification of adults and children

Review our guidance and planning considerations for providing mass care during a pandemic.

To search for shelters near you, text SHELTER and your ZIP code to 43362 (e.g. Shelter 12345). You may look up shelters any time through the American Red Cross shelter map or by downloading the FEMA App.

The Commonly Used Sheltering Items (CUSI) Catalog is a compilation of items focused on meeting the needs of survivors in the shelter environment and other congregate settings. FEMA maintains agreements with partners related to these items so that these items can be more easily provisioned during a disaster.

Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program

Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program provides supplemental funding to state, tribal, and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations to assist disaster-impacted individuals and communities in recovering from disasters through community-based outreach and psycho-educational services. The goal is to aid survivors in recovering from the adverse reactions to disasters and to begin to rebuild their lives. Services offered are non-clinical and anonymous, and include supportive crisis counseling, psycho-education, development of coping skills, and linkage to appropriate resources.

Disaster Case Management Program

Disaster Case Management (DCM) is a supplemental award made to a state, tribal, or territorial government or non-governmental organization to assist disaster-impacted individuals and families through the recovery process. DCM involves partnerships between a case manager and a disaster survivor. The intention of this program is to assess and address a survivor’s unmet needs through a disaster recovery plan. This disaster recovery plan includes resources, decision-making priorities, providing guidance, and tools to assist disaster survivors.

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Review the toolkit to learn how to apply for the Disaster Case Management Program.

Disaster Legal Services (DLS) provides legal aid to survivors affected by a presidentially declared major disaster. These services are available to survivors who qualify as low-income and are limited to cases that would not normally incur legal fees. Typically, the types of legal assistance offered include help with insurance claims (e.g. health, property, or life), recovery or reproduction of legal documents lost in the disaster, help with home repairs and disputes with contractors and/or landlords, the preparation of powers of attorney and guardianship materials, and FEMA appeals. DLS is executed in partnership with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Division.

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Learn more about Disaster Legal Services on DisasterAssistance.gov's legal services page.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides unemployment benefits and re-employment assistance services to eligible survivors affected by a presidentially declared major disaster. These services are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Labor and administered by the affected state, tribal, or territorial workforce agency. DUA is only available to disaster survivors who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) through their state, tribal, or territorial workforce agency.

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Learn more about DUA and eligibility requirements on DisasterAssistance.gov’s Disaster Unemployment Assistance page.

Voluntary Agency Coordination

Voluntary agencies are among the first to provide survivor support services post-disaster and continue to support affected areas throughout the recovery period. The work of these organizations complements federal assistance and may support gaps in coverage. FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Coordinators support communities in conducting unmet needs assessments and organizing early coordination efforts, as well as developing and guiding local long-term recovery groups created to assist individuals and families with the recovery process.

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Visit the Volunteer and Donate page to learn more, or email us if you have additional questions.

Referral Lists

Resources may be available to survivors from sources other than FEMA. Visit our state, territory and local and national level referral lists to get additional resources.

Additional Survivor Resources

There are many tools and resources on Ready.gov to help prepare before a disaster or get support after, including:

Please Note

FEMA's Individual Assistance programs are intended to meet only essential needs and are not intended to cover all losses. Some people qualify for assistance from more than one program; you may be receiving additional help from other federal and voluntary agencies. However, you cannot receive assistance for the same exact need from more than one program or entity, including your insurance.