As the recovery process for Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma continues, federal officials offer the following advice:
- Apply for disaster assistance. The quickest way to apply for federal disaster assistance is online through DisasterAssistance.gov. If you don’t have access to the Internet, you can apply by phone. Call 1-800-621-3362.
- Don’t return home until local officials tell you it’s safe. Before you enter your house, check for safety hazards like loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. Learn what else to check before and after you enter.
- Be on the look out for scam artists and fraud. Remember you never have to pay a fee to apply for federal disaster assistance. If someone tells you that you do, it’s a scam. Other common fraud includes phony house inspectors and fake donation requests. Follow these tips to avoid scams and fraud after a disaster.
- Find help if you’re feeling distressed. You can talk to a professional who can help you cope with emotional distress from the storm by calling the Disaster Distress Line at 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746.
- Know where to find trusted information. After major storms, rumors circulate and scammers may try to take advantage of you. Make sure you know what’s real and what’s fake. Check FEMA’s rumor control page for Maria or for Harvey for trusted storm and recovery updates.
St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and some counties in Texas, and Florida, and some municipalities in Puerto Rico are eligible for individual disaster assistance.
There are several ways to see if you qualify for financial assistance:
- Use the address lookup on DisasterAssistance.gov to find out if you qualify for aid.
- Fill out the DisasterAssistance.gov questionnaire and online aid application.
- Call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585)
- To get help in person, find a Disaster Recovery Center near you with the Disaster Recovery Center locator
Currently, the application process is much faster online. If you have access to the Internet, apply that way. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Other Forms of Financial Assistance
After a disaster there are several forms of financial assistance you might qualify for. Find out about SBA disaster recovery loans, disaster unemployment assistance and other types of assistance.