Questions and Answers: FEMA Assistance (2024)

Questions and Answers: FEMA Assistance (1)

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Release Date:

May 21, 2024

FEMAIndividualAssistancehelpsdisastersurvivorsbeginrecoverybyprovidinggrantsforbasic,critical needs. Answers to questions about the federal assistance process can be found below.


  • FEMA assistance is designed to jumpstart recovery efforts and ensure your home is livable. The assistance you receive is not likely to cover the full costs of returning your home or property to the condition it may have been in prior to the disaster. To see what types of assistance might be available to you, visit the Find Assistancepage.


  • Yes. You may qualify for FEMA disaster assistance even if you have insurance, so don’t wait to apply with FEMA. However, you will need to file a claim with your insurance provider and submit the insurance settlement or denial letter to FEMA to determine your eligibility for some forms of assistance. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by your insurance.


  • Speak to your insurance agent first. If you’re unable to resolve your concern, you may contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1526. If a decision on your insurance settlement has been delayed longer than 30 days from filing, you may be eligible for an insurance advance payment from FEMA to cover temporary housing needs. These funds must be repaid to FEMA once you receive your insurance settlement. You may also apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan without waiting for your insurance settlement. SBA can approve a loan for homeowners for the total replacement cost up to the lending limits. Once the insurance settles, if there is a duplication of benefits, SBA will apply those funds to the balance of the disaster loan.

IfIalreadystartedtheclean-upprocess,canIstillgethelptocoverthose expenses?

  • Yes. Don’t wait for possible federal assistance to begin your recovery. Keep repair receipts and document damage whenever possible. FEMA inspectors are trained to recognize damage caused by a disaster and will discuss those damages with you when they contact you or come to your home.

If I received displacement assistance but I still need help with temporary housing, what should I do?

  • Call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or visit an open recovery center to request FEMA rental assistance.


  • Yes. FEMA inspectors may call from an unknown phone number and make several attempts to discuss your disaster-caused damage. An inspection can only be done when the applicant or co-applicant is present.

Asarenter,whattypesofFEMAassistancecouldIbeeligible for?

  • Renters affected by the March 14 tornadoes may be eligible for grants to help pay for temporary housing, repair or replacement costs for necessary personal property, such as furniture, appliances, clothing and school supplies; personal computer; replacement or repair of tools and other job-related equipment required by the self-employed; primary vehicles; uninsured or out-of-pocket medical, dental, childcare or moving and storage expenses.


  • No. FEMA assistance is tax-free and does not affect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or other federal welfare and entitlement programs.

I’mafarmerwhohaddisasterlossesfromtheMarch14tornadoes—amIeligiblefor federal assistance?

  • Farmers may be eligible for FEMA assistance to help with serious needs, paying for a temporary place to live, home repairs and other uninsured needs. The SBA also offers low-interest loans to eligible farmers to rebuild or repair their primary home and replace lost or damaged personal property.
  • When natural disasters strike, USDA offers technical and financial assistance to help producers recover from droughts, tornadoes, excessive rain, winter storms and more. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers FSA Disaster Programs to help producers recover from eligible losses from natural disasters including droughts FSADisasterPrograms to help producers recover from eligible losses from natural disasters including droughts, tornadoes, flooding and more. FSA’s Emergency Loan Program provides loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine. We encourage you to contact your USDA Service Center to discuss program and loan options and what is needed for eligibility and to apply.

I received a letter saying I am currently not approved for FEMA assistance. Does that mean I can’t expect any help from FEMA?

  • Not necessarily. It’s important to read your FEMA decision letter carefully. You may just need to provide additional information—such as your insurance settlement or denial—or other documents to keep your application moving. You can always visit a recovery center or call the FEMA helpline if you need help with the process.

FEMAdidnotgivemeenoughmoney.WhatifIcan’trebuildmyhousetowhatitlooked like before?

  • If you disagree with FEMA’s decision, you may appeal within 60 days of the date of the decision letter. To meet the needs of disaster survivors more fully, FEMA partners with other governmental and non-governmental agencies. The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters in a declared disaster area. Learn more atDisaster assistance | U.S. Small Business Administration (


  • Appeals must be submitted within 60 days of the date of the decision letter. Your FEMA letter will provide additional information on what will need to be provided if you choose to appeal FEMA’s decision. With your decision letter, FEMA will also provide an Appeal Request Form that may be used to help provide additional information. Your appeal may be submitted by fax or mail, in-person, or online if you have a FEMA online account. To set up a FEMA online account, visit, click on “Apply Online” and follow the directions.
    • Bymail:FEMANationalProcessingServiceCenter,P.O.Box10055,Hyattsville,MD20782-7055
    • Byfax:800-827-8112,Attention:FEMA
    • In-person: Visit any Disaster Recovery Center to submit your appeal. Find a center here:

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Questions and Answers: FEMA Assistance (2024)


How does FEMA decide who gets money? ›

Ownership/Occupancy Verification

For certain types of assistance, FEMA must confirm the disaster-damaged home is your primary residence. For Home Repair or Replacement Assistance, FEMA also needs to confirm you owned the residence at the time of the disaster.

How long does it take to get money from FEMA? ›

How long will it take to get FEMA/State disaster help? If you are eligible for help, you should receive a U.S. Treasury/State check or notification of a deposit to your bank account within about ten days of the inspector's visit. Other types of assistance may be provided later, based on specific eligibility and need.

How much was the average FEMA check? ›

Between 2016 and 2022, the average FEMA disaster assistance grant award was $3,000. In the same period, the NFIP paid an average claim amount of more than $66,000. In some cases, policyholders may be eligible to couple their flood insurance claims with federal disaster assistance.

Why are people getting $700 from FEMA? ›

Critical Needs Assistance is limited to a one-time $700 payment per household. Maybe you were displaced from your primary residence or you need help to move from your pre-disaster primary residence to temporarily shelter elsewhere.

Does FEMA ask for proof? ›

FEMA accepts the following documents as proof you lived in your home before the declared disaster: Lease or housing agreement. Rent receipts. Utility bill (electric, water/sewer, etc.)

What to expect after you apply for FEMA assistance? ›

If eligible for assistance, you will receive a check or an electronic funds transfer. A follow-up letter will explain how the money can be used. For an accessible video on FEMA home inspections, go to FEMA Accessible: Home Inspections.

Does FEMA require receipts? ›

Be sure to document how you used your disaster funds and keep all receipts for at least three years. Your FEMA grant is funded by taxpayers. If you spend your grant on anything other than the purpose for which it is intended, you may be ineligible for future disaster assistance.

How are people getting $500 from FEMA? ›

applicant's financial ONA maximum for that disaster, which is an annually-adjusted amount based on the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index. CNA is a one-time $500 payment per household. An affected state, territorial, or tribal government must submit a written request to FEMA to implement CNA.

How does FEMA calculate payments? ›

When determining the amount of money you will receive, FEMA looks at your actual loss. Actual loss is determined by adding all the physical damage done, and costs necessary to repair that damage. As well as including displacement costs for you while your home is being repaired.

How do I know if FEMA approved me? ›

Survivors can also check the status of their applications online at, which is the fastest way to get information to and from FEMA.

How to get $700 from government? ›

After you register with FEMA, you may be approved for a one-time immediate payment of $700 for Critical Needs Assistance, one of several types of federal assistance you may be eligible to receive.

Why did I get $300 from FEMA? ›

If your home was damaged by the Dec. 9 tornadoes but you can live in it safely, FEMA may be able to provide up to $300 in one-time financial assistance to help with cleanup. This assistance is for eligible homeowners and renters.

How are FEMA funds distributed? ›

FEMA obligates funds to the Recipient based on the eligible total of an approved project. The Recipient then disburses funding to the Applicant. Once the Applicant has signed all projects, FEMA coordinates with the Recipient to schedule a Recovery Transition Meeting (RTM).

What is the maximum amount of money that can be awarded for an individual assistance recovery grant from FEMA in the USA? ›

FEMA gives notice that the maximum amount of IHP financial assistance provided to an individual or household under section 408 of the Stafford Act with respect to any single emergency or major disaster is $42,500 for housing assistance and $42,500 for other needs assistance.


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