For individuals and households, programs are in place to help find out who is eligible for reimbursement for emergency housing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the go-to source for information and assistance in the aftermath of a disaster. How does FEMA lodging reimbursement work? The answer, thankfully, is quite simple.
“FEMA aids individuals and families who have disaster-caused damages to their homes as a result of a presidentially declared disaster,” the agency writes.
In addition to lodging assistance, FEMA also helps with other necessities, such as childcare, medical expenses, moving and storage, and clean-up. In fact, FEMA programs can help with lots of items that your homeowners or renters insurance does not cover.
Be sure not to seek assistance from both FEMA and your insurance company for the same damage, though. As FEMA cautions, doing so is insurance fraud.
It’s important to remember that FEMA’s housing assistance, regardless of the form it takes, is only for a person’s primary residence. The agency does not provide housing assistance for secondary homes.
Finally, this information is not for small business disaster assistance. FEMA partners with the Small Business Association (SBA), so help with business emergencies, including loans, should be directed there.
How Can FEMA Help After A Disaster?
For households damaged by a presidentially declared disaster, FEMA may provide the following if a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy does not already cover it.
- Temporary Housing Assistance. This comes in the form of financial assistance. It is designed to help homeowners or renters secure temporary emergency housing if and when their home is unlivable because of a disaster.
- Lodging Expenses Reimbursement. This pays for short-term hotel expenses for homeowners or renters “due to inaccessibility or utility outage.”
- Home Repair. This is financial assistance to help repair damage to a primary residence “to make the home safe, sanitary, and fit to occupy.”
- Home Replacement. This provides financial assistance for homeowners to replace their home if and when it has been destroyed in a disaster.
- Permanent Housing Construction. Assistance with the construction or repair of a home. “This type of help,” FEMA writes, “occurs only in certain unique cases where no other type of housing assistance is possible.”
How FEMA Lodging Reimbursement Works
How does FEMA lodging reimbursement work? It starts with applying for FEMA assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov. That site allows you to find assistance, apply online, and check the status of your assistance. The website can also direct you to local resources.
Here are the conditions that must be met in order for an applicant to receive FEMA assistance. This information is taken directly from the Individuals and Households Program website.
- Complete an application
- Confirm you are a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national, or a qualified alien
- Pass an identity check
- Have “unmet needs” after you’ve received insurance benefits “or other forms of disaster assistance services”
- Expenses and needs must be directly caused by a declared disaster
Two final notes. First, any financial assistance you receive from FEMA is made via U.S.
Treasury check or through an electronic funds transfer directly into your bank account. Second, assistance is limited to 18 months “following the date of the disaster declaration and may be extended due to extraordinary circumstances.”
Contact Empire Managed Solutions if you have any questions.