The Individual Assistance Program is designed to coordinate assistance provided to individuals, households, and businesses recovering from disaster or emergency impacts. After the president signs a disaster declaration, it is important to inform affected individuals and businesses through press releases and outreach efforts that programs are available to them in obtaining any entitled aid.
The first step for individuals and businesses needing assistance should be through the toll-free tele-registration hotline, available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). Specially trained operators at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Tele-registration Center will process the application. Once this is accomplished, further assistance may be coordinated through a Disaster Recovery Center (disclaimer: link is only functional during a disaster), which may be established in each of the declared counties or regionally. Representatives of federal, state, local, and volunteer organizations are made available to help disaster survivors who are applying for assistance.