Winter storm thermometer

How to Start FEMA Recovery Process

Here are the specific steps that a property owner or renter must take to start the recovery process:

Step One: Take photos of your damaged home and belongings.
Step Two: Make a list of damaged/lost items.
Step Three: If you have insuranceyou must file a claim with your insurance company.
Step Four: Information should you have ready when applying for assistance?
  • A current phone number where you can be contacted.
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying.
  • Your Social Security number, if available.
  • A general list of damage and losses.
  • If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name.
Step Five: Now that you’re ready to apply now for disaster assistance or you would like more information on the types of assistance available, please utilize one of the following methods.

To apply for assistance online, visit To do so over the phone, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The lines will be in operation seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.

If you get a denial letter, please read it. It is probably because there is documentation that you need to provide. If you don’t understand the letter call the help line and inquire on why was denied.

Financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs may be included in the disaster assistance.

What else can you do right now?

  • FEMA advises if it’s safe to do so, start cleaning up now.
  • Take photos to document damage, begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. 
  • Keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

FEMA programs do not pay for fuel or cover food losses. If you have immediate needs for food or shelter, you may contact 2-1-1 for local resources.

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