How to Get Federal Disaster Assistance

by Jay MacDonald,


How do you file for federal aid when a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster strikes?

Here are the steps to follow.

Are You In An Official Disaster Zone?

When local and state resources are overwhelmed by a severe disaster, your state’s governor will request that the president issue a Major Disaster Declaration. This is the only declaration that can activate a range of federal assistance programs for individuals and families. Assistance may include temporary housing, low-interest loans and grants, counseling for post-disaster trauma and other services.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, doesn’t activate all of its assistance programs in every natural disaster. It largely depends on the nature of damages reported by your state.

To qualify for federal disaster assistance, your losses must have occurred in an area covered by a Major Disaster Declaration. If you have online access, you can quickly determine this at FEMA’s 2011 Federal Disaster Declarations Web page.

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