Lately you cannot turn on the news without seeing a disheartening report on natural disasters in different areas of the country, there have been floods, hurricanes and wildfires all hitting the United States in the last six months. When these dire situations take place there are numerous disaster relief grants available to assist those who were affected by the catastrophe. Federal and state governments have their own separate funds reserved to give out during these times and non-profit foundations and groups have raised funds and set it aside just for these types of emergency events.

The nation’s main government funder for these disaster relief grants comes from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The federal government created FEMA back in 1979 to help during these trying times and their mission as stated on their website is “to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards”. FEMA is a grant program, so the funds do not have to be repaid or declared as income so it will not affect your social security benefits.

These disaster relief grants from FEMA will pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs uninsured and underinsured personal property losses, medical/dental expenses related to the disaster, funeral expenses and other serious disaster related expense as determined by FEMA. In order for FEMA to step in to help an area must be declared a national disaster by the President, then funding is open to FEMA so they can offer disaster and emergency relief grants to those in the that area that were devastated by the catastrophe. In order to find out if you qualify for the funds from these grants you must register an application with them by doing one of the following:

Call the FEMA Helpline (800) 621-FEMA (3362)

  • Speech or hearing impaired (800) 462-7585) (2)
  • Register on-line anytime at
  • If you have no access to a phone or computer, go to the local disaster recovery center (DRC) that was set up in your area and register there.
  • Once you register you will be contacted by FEMA and they will schedule an appointment with you to survey the damage to your property and will give you the necessary paperwork to fill out so you can file for the grant funds. Once they review your paperwork and decide you are eligible for these grant funds the money will usually be deposited into your bank account electronically in a few days or a check will be mailed to you. FEMA was set up to help individuals and families recover after these life changing disasters so make sure you contact them if you have sustained a loss in a nationally declared disaster.

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