Affected by a disaster? Here’s how to navigate emergency financial help.
When disaster strikes, where do you turn? Do you file with FEMA, make an insurance claim, or call friends and family for support? What if your claim gets denied?
The aftermath of any disaster can be incredibly stressful. We’re here to make things a little simpler. Here’s a list of to-dos and resources that should help you breathe deep and get back on your feet.
1. Check with your insurance.
If your home or property has undergone damage, it’s important to contact any and all insurance companies you have policies with— homeowners insurance, renters insurance, flood or earthquake insurance, etc. We recommend contacting your insurance agent or broker as soon as you can after the disaster. When you call, be sure to have a list of damaged or lost items, and provide receipts and photographs if possible.
2. Alert your creditors.
If you have outstanding debt or a mortgage and you’re worried the disaster will make you late on your payments, you may be able to request a forbearance agreement. A forbearance agreement allows you to temporarily suspend payments without late fees. These agreements can last six months or more, giving you more time to get back on your feet
3. Check with government aid resources.
If you don’t have insurance or are having trouble meeting your deductible, you may qualify for government-sponsored aid. Head to DisasterAssistance.gov and enter your zip code. If you do qualify, you could be eligible for housing-related expenses such as temporary rental costs, repairs, and costs towards a replacement home. FEMA also provides other aid, such as child care, essential household items, funeral and burial, medical and dental, moving and storage, some clean-up items, and vehicles!
4. Check with voluntary agencies.
If you don’t qualify for FEMA aid or you still have unmet needs, voluntary agencies like nonprofits are often available to help. For example, Endeavors’ Disaster Case Management is a service that assists people who have suffered as a result of an emergency situation. Those in need of assistance will be assigned a caseworker who will get to work finding resources for you and your family. No matter how big or small your needs are, Endeavors will do its best to connect you with a case manager to help you get back on your feet.
5. Stabilize your income, if you can.
If you’ve lost your job as a result of a disaster, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)! DUA is a Department of Labor program that provides cash income to workers who lose employment due to a major disaster.
6. Talk to a financial recovery counselor.
Worried about your finances after a disaster? Talk to a professional! Plenty of services offer free financial recovery counseling or debt counseling. Contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling here.
7. What if I’m a Veteran?
If you are a veteran and become disabled in a disaster, you could be eligible for a monthly disability benefit, depending on your military service record, the severity of your injury, and your other income. For more information, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website at va.gov.
Contact us to see if you qualify for Disaster Case Management (DCM).
Disaster Case Management covers more than you may think! If you or a loved one are in need of disaster assistance, we would love to connect with you. Currently, our DCM services are available in Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico.
We are passionate about serving vulnerable people in crisis, improving their quality of life in innovative, personal ways. Click here to learn more about the Endeavors® Disaster Case Management program and how it can help you.
Endeavors is a longstanding national nonprofit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.