FEMA provides disaster assistance to U.S. Citizens and certain qualified legal immigrants. This assistance covers temporary rental assistance, home repairs and crisis counseling needs.
Homeowner applicants need to prove ownership by providing documentation such as a cover letter and declaration proving their claim of home ownership.
FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides disaster aid to homeowners, renters, business owners and individuals affected by disasters. FEMA grants are available for temporary housing costs, repairs or replacement costs of uninsured losses or low-cost loans for uninsured losses as well as assistance for medical costs or funeral costs related to disasters.
FEMA will conduct an inspection on damaged property owned by applicants applying for assistance and determine whether it qualifies. As a result, applicants should prepare themselves to meet an inspector at their property – or arrange for someone over 18 to meet in their place if unable.
Applications for home repair or replacement assistance must provide proof that their property was their primary residence at the time of the disaster. Such proof can include deeds; title insurance policies; mortgage payment books/documents/tax receipts; as well as sworn statements affirming they paid property taxes on and maintained their residence.
One essential document for FEMA inspectors to review is a copy of the maximum insurance settlement amount from their insurer. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits they already provide by offering additional aid for insurance deductible payments. Furthermore, having an inventory of documents already provided can assist inspectors greatly.
After conducting an inspection, an inspector may decide that an applicant’s home or business no longer requires assistance or repairs and will therefore not issue rental assistance checks. However, if an applicant submits a sworn declaration stating they cannot return due to disaster-related damages or are ineligible due to uninhabitability/accessibility then rental assistance will still be awarded.
If the inspector determines that an applicant requires continued rental assistance, their attorney should prepare a letter and declaration outlining their ownership of property and make sure their client understands they must use any funds from FEMA in accordance with their award letter or they will no longer qualify.
Renters may qualify for FEMA temporary housing assistance if their home has been destroyed or rendered inhabitable, helping cover short-term lodging expenses as well as costs to rent another dwelling for up to 18 months. To be considered, applicants must submit documentation of pre-disaster housing costs, property taxes and separately-billed utilities; should an appeal for continued rental assistance fail, thorough documentation and evidence will need to be presented demonstrating why.
Individuals and households of various citizenship statuses may qualify for disaster aid assistance. Individuals must self-certify their citizenship; household members must either be US citizens, noncitizen nationals or qualified aliens residing within the US; applicants applying on behalf of children must also self-certify. After initial disbursement of temporary housing assistance is issued to survivors, a packet is distributed that contains instructions on how to recertify their need.
Individuals and households
FEMA provides financial disaster assistance to homeowners, renters and individuals for repairing or replacing essential personal property, whether online or at local Disaster Recovery Centers. FEMA also offers training classes on emergency preparedness and response through its centers, state programs or colleges and universities – some may incur fees while many courses can be taken free-of-charge – plus multilingual options are also provided.
Individuals seeking disaster assistance must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify, such as being U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals or “qualified aliens.” For more information about this requirement download the Individual Assistance Program Policy Guide (IAPPG). This document also lists documents needed to prove citizenship or immigration status; additionally FEMA also offers other lifesaving emergency disaster relief help such as crisis counseling and disaster legal services – however an immigration expert is recommended for clarification regarding eligibility of these services.
Individuals seeking IHP assistance must present proof of occupancy in the form of utility bills, bank statements, paychecks or rent receipts as evidence of residency. In some instances, additional documentation may be requested by IAPPG and FEMA to show proof of habitation; those denied assistance will receive an explanation letter in this regard.
People approved for IHP assistance will receive either a check or direct deposit of their assistance funds, which can then be used to pay their mortgage or lease payment; it can even be applied toward renting property as long as your landlord agrees. Alternatively, those with disabilities can use a video relay service, captioned telephone service or sign language interpreter in order to communicate with FEMA staff members more efficiently.
FEMA may still assist after you’ve reached the maximum settlement amount on your insurance settlement to address disaster-caused needs that remain unfulfilled. National Flood Insurance Program rates depend on both your flood risk and replacement value – FEMA will take this information into consideration during its Risk Rating 2.0 process to establish your rate.