Individual Assistance

The Individual Assistance program provides assistance to home owners whose primary residences were damaged or destroyed by a natural or manmade disaster.

The program includes:

  • Individuals who face displacement from their homes due to disaster-related income loss;
  • Homes that are inaccessible due to road, bridge, and culvert or driveway washout;
  • High quality inspections of disaster damaged dwellings as the basis for determining the kinds and amounts of assistance to be provided to individuals and families.
  • Processing services for disaster applicants to give assistance as quickly as possible while ensuring proper stewardship of federal funds and;
  • Providing housing resources through the state of North Carolina or FEMA for disaster victims.

In the event of a Presidentially declared disaster for Individual Assistance, survivors can register for help by:

  • Registering online at
  • Calling toll-free to 800-621-FEMA (3362) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Applying for federal assistance directly through their web enabled mobile phone devices or smartphones. Visit and follow the link to to apply for federal assistance.
  • Visiting a local Disaster Recovery Center.

Financial Assistance can be used for:

  • Housing – homeowners and renters receive funds to rent a different place to live.
  • Repair – homeowners receive grants to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance.
  • Other needs assistance – grants for necessary and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage and other expenses that FEMA approves. The homeowner may need to apply for an SBA loan before receiving this type of assistance.

FEMA can’t duplicate payments. If a loss is covered by another source, such as insurance, or is taken care of by a volunteer group, donation or gift, FEMA cannot pay for that cost again. Duplicate payments are prohibited by law.

What to do

  • Renters or homeowners who suffered any damage or loss should apply for assistance. There is no need to wait for an insurance inspection.
  • Before survivors call or go online, they should gather the following basic information:
    • Social Security number;
    • Telephone number where applicant can be reached;
    • Address of the damaged property;
    • Current mailing address;
    • Brief description of disaster-related damages and losses;
    • Insurance information; and
    • Direct deposit information.
  • If an inspection is needed to determine eligibility, the inspector will usually make an appointment within five days.
  • Survivors can clean up before the inspection. They should take pictures of the damage and property that had to be removed.
  • If survivors were displaced from their home and incurred hotel expenses, or purchased clean-up or repair materials, they should save those receipts because these MAY be eligible for reimbursement.
  • All applicants will receive a letter from FEMA regarding their request for federal assistance.

Individual Assistance

The threat of hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, snowstorms, wildfires, landslides and even earthquakes are very real in Virginia. Such events can cause injuries, deaths and damage housing, infrastructure, businesses and the environment. As development continues to increase in high hazard areas, the potential for future damages escalates and the need for mitigation activities increases.  VDEM can help in individuals, local governments and business leaders reduce the impacts of natural hazards on homes, businesses and communities.

Current hazard mitigation efforts include:

  • the acquisition of more than 5,000 homes located in high hazard areas
  • the elevation of 800 flood-prone properties
  • providing assistance with updating of local hazard mitigation plans
  • the identification of business risk reduction strategies
  • promoting sound development and building practices outside of high hazard areas

What Individuals Can Do

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S. (nearly everybody has some risk of flooding). The best way to recover from a flood is to carry flood insurance (homeowners insurance does not cover flood losses).Homeowners can buy flood insurance no matter where they live. Policies are available for residential buildings and commercial buildings as long as the community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There is also separate contents coverage, so renters can get flood insurance too.

When recovering from natural hazards, contact your insurance company first. To mitigate future damage, contact your local Emergency Management Coordinators (link here). They can help you determine what programs may apply to you.