Disaster survivors need quick and helpful assistance – which may include information, services, support and quick access to programs to provide relief. Seniors who experience a disaster can be at a higher risk on several levels. Programs can come from federal, state, tribal and local sources.

1. Nutrition assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can provide valuable help. For those, already part of the program, extra funds or some benefits could be replaced. The EBT card may be allowed temporary use for foods or meals not typically covered. This program provides emergency food benefits to states declared a disaster area by the President – this assistance is referred to as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP). To find out if D-SNAP is offered in your area, visit: DisasterAssistance.gov

2. Tax relief

The IRS offers a specific Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program. This program provides tax counseling and assistance. Special tax law provisions are available to help those who live in certain states affected by a disaster, particularly those locations declared a major disaster area. Property Tax Relief may also be available, contact the local tax office for more information.

For more details, visit: Get the details from IRS.gov and search for disaster relief.

3. Shelter assistance

FEMA offers assistance in the form of the Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program. This program helps with home loss or damage. It provides temporary assistance and helps pay the cost of a hotel room while looking for long-term housing.

To find a hotel that participates in this program, visit: FEMA Evacuee Hotel List .

4. FEMA housing portal

This service applies basic information to provide a list of local rentals if you cannot get back into your home.

To find a housing solution, visit: FEMA.gov and search “housing portal”

5. Energy assistance

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Disaster Relief is a program available is some areas to help pay for energy needs and energy-related home repairs or installations. To find out about individual state programs, contact the Department of Human Services (DHS), your local Community Action Agency, or your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

6. Disaster loans

Low-interest disaster loans help rebuild and replace homes and businesses damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. For more information from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Disaster Assistance, visit: SBA.gov, and click on the “Home & Business Distaster Loans" block. 

Receive help finding benefit programs that provide cash assistance and other help by visiting BenefitsCheckUp.org. After answering a few questions, a list of benefit programs may include options that will pay for medications, food, utilities and other helpful expenses. Also provided are program guidelines, websites, online application forms (if available), paper applications in various languages (if available) and other resources.

To learn about assistance programs, apply and check the status of an application, visit: DisasterAssistance.gov