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FEMA - Answers to Common Questions

Disaster Relief

This article contains answers to common questions about how FEMA may be able to help you recover from a disaster. 

Here, learn about the types of assistance FEMA can provide to those affected by a disaster. This includes help with temporary housing, repair and replacement of personal belongings, and other expenses related to the disaster. FEMA may also be able to provide assistance if you have insurance, but it will not cover insurance deductibles or living expenses. To ask for FEMA's help, you can call or go online. Keep in mind that it may be helpful to file for FEMA assistance even if you think you don't need it at the time.

Can FEMA help me with temporary housing?

Yes. FEMA can help you with your hotel bill. In some cases, FEMA will pay the hotel bill for you. You can check for a list of those hotels at If your hotel is not a participating hotel, save your hotel bill to ask for FEMA reimbursement after you check out.

Can FEMA help me with rent ?

Yes. FEMA can help you with rent at a new place if your home was damaged by a disaster.

Can FEMA help me with rent if I rented my damaged home?

Yes. FEMA can help you with at least one month’s rent at a new place.

Can FEMA help me repair my home ?

Yes, if you own your home. FEMA can provide home owners with a limited amount of help to make your residence safe, sanitary and functional.
  • Home owners who have good credit and enough income to pay off a loan may also get a government-backed loan to fully repair their home.
  • You may need to clear up ownership of your property if you do not have a deed in your name by the time you register with FEMA.

Can FEMA help me replace my personal belongings ?

Yes. FEMA can give you money to replace personal belongings that were damaged or destroyed during the disaster. Things that FEMA can help you replace include vehicles,
furniture, appliances, and other important personal property.

Can FEMA help me with other expenses caused by a disaster?

Yes. FEMA can help you with the medical expenses, dental expenses, funeral expenses, transportation expenses, and other serious needs caused by the disaster.

  • FEMA will not cover these expenses unless you can show that they were caused by the disaster.
  • You may need to get your doctor to give you a note that says your medical or dental expenses were caused by the disaster.
  • You may also need to provide receipts for any other expense caused by a disaster.

Can FEMA help me if I have insurance?

Yes. FEMA can help you with needs that are not covered by your insurance or give you money while you are waiting on insurance money.
  • You may need to give FEMA a copy of your insurance policy.
  • FEMA will not cover your insurance deductible.
  • You will need to pay FEMA back after you receive your insurance money.

How do I ask FEMA to help me?

Call or go online: 800-621-FEMA (3362)  or


  • Consider filing for FEMA even if you don’t think you need it at the time. This can help document your damage in case you later need FEMA help.
  • Keep all papers you get from FEMA.
  • Keep receipts showing how you spend the money FEMA gives you. Keep these receipts for three years.
  • When FEMA gives you money, they will tell you how you should use it.
    • Only use FEMA money for the things FEMA tells you to spend it on.
    • Apply for other benefits such as disaster unemployment and disaster food stamps if possible so you won’t be tempted to use FEMA money for living expenses.
  • Be sure to claim the total value of your damaged house or property even if it’s more than FEMA or insurance limits.

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