If you live in an area that was affected by Hurricane Laura or another disaster, you may be able to get assistance. You can visit www.disasterassistance.gov to find out what kinds of federal help is available, apply for assistance, and to later check the status of your application.
In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers low interest disaster loans to help you rebuild and replace homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. To get more information, you can go to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Disaster Assistance at: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
Types of Benefits Available in an Area Declared a Disaster
Housing and Shelter
- Emergency Shelters may be available if you need to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster. To find shelters in your area, visit the Red Cross or the Salvation Army, or text the word SHELTER and your zip code to: 4FEMA (43362) (standard text message rates apply). To get immediate assistance in your area, you can also call the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) helpline at: (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585 (TTY). You can also go to: www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance
- Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) Program helps you if you cannot return to your home due to any loss or damage after shelters around you have closed. This program provides temporary assistance and helps pay for the cost of a hotel room while you look for long-term housing. To learn more about the program and whether you may qualify, go to: www.fema.gov/transitional-shelter-assistance. To find a hotel that participates in this program, go to: www.femaevachotels.com.
- Mortgage Forbearance may be available if you live in an area affected by a hurricane (or other disaster) and you are having trouble making your mortgage payments. This means that you may be able to temporarily stop making mortgage payments without going into foreclosure. The payments are generally postponed but not forgiven. Call your mortgage servicer (the company you send your mortgage payments) to see if they can work with you.
- Food Banks may be able to provide immediate food assistance. Feeding America can help you find a food bank in your area if you have an urgent need. Go to: www.feedingamerica.org and enter your zip code.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may provide additional benefits if you are already enrolled and you live in an area affected by a disaster. Benefits may be available early or they may be increased to help you replace lost food. You may also be able to use your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to buy hot meals and other foods that are normally not allowed. For more information or to find out how to apply, call your state hotline.
- Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) provides emergency food benefits if your area is a presidentially-declared disaster area and your state is currently offering the assistance. The eligibility standards are different than regular SNAP. If you qualify, you will get an EBT card to use at grocery stores. For more information, go to: www.disasterassistance.gov or call your state hotline.
- Assistance and Emergency Relief Program provides you with tax counseling and assistance. Special tax law provisions are available to help you if you live in certain states affected by the disaster, especially if your location is declared a major disaster area. Get the details from www.irs.gov by going to the “Disaster Relief” section on the page. This page will be updated with new information for each disaster as information becomes available.
- Property Tax Relief may also be available. Please contact your local tax office for more information.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Disaster Relief may be available in your area to help pay for your home energy needs and energy-related home repairs or installations. To find out if your state offers LIHEAP Disaster Relief and the type of help available, find the agency that provides LIHEAP assistance such as your local Department of Human Services (DHS), Community Action Agency, or Area Agency on Aging (AAA).
- The Red Cross has resources and advice for recovering from a disaster, including your home safety, emotional well-being, and financial recovery.
- 2-1-1 is a free helpline available in most parts of the county. It is open all day, seven days per week. You can call for help finding things like food, crisis counseling, and housing. In most states, you can just dial 2-1-1. You can also visit this site for more information about your local 2-1-1 services.
- The Disaster Distress Helpline, offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offers a crisis hotline twenty four hours a day, seven days per week. If you are experiencing distress related to a disaster, you can call the helpline at: (800) 985-5990.
- FEMA Resources for People with Disabilities has information and resources about disaster recovery specifically for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. You can find videos about registering for disaster assistance, housing assistance, and other helpful topics. The videos have both audio and American Sign Language (ASL).
You can also find benefit programs you may be eligible for by using BenefitsCheckUp.org.