FEMA: Applying for Disaster Aid on Your Smart Phone

Release Number: HQ-10-137Factsheet

For the first time, survivors of a disaster will now be able to apply for federal disaster assistance on their Smartphones, making aid more immediately accessible for people after a disaster hits. This new tool, created at the direction of Administrator Fugate, can be accessed directly at FEMA’s new mobile web site m.fema.gov. Financial assistance for disaster survivors becomes available when a disaster has been declared by the President, to include individual assistance.

On average, roughly 40 percent of disaster applicants complete applications online.  More and more, when a disaster strikes, survivors are relying on their Smartphones to stay in touch with friends and family. While computers and other means of applying for assistance may not be accessible for survivors right away, Smartphones can help ensure that survivors have immediate resources and information at their fingertips.  Smartphone models that will be able to access the new mobile platform include Blackberries, Apple iPhones, and Windows Mobile.

Watch a video of Administrator Fugate www.youtube.com/fema demonstrating the new feature.

Applying for Aid: A Simple How-To In order to apply for individual assistance, Smartphone users will need to take the following steps:

1. Go to m.fema.gov and click  “Apply Online for FEMA Assistance. ”You will then be taken to our   partner site DisasterAssistance.gov.

2. Click on “Start Registration.” A page will prompt you to answer a simple question to prevent against software viruses.

3. You then will fill out the registration form to apply for assistance.

Technology & The Future of Emergency Management Under Administrator Fugate’s leadership, FEMA is using technology in new and innovative ways: (1) to make FEMA’s resources more user-friendly to the American public; (2) to adapt to new trends in how people receive information during a disaster; (3) to educate the public about disaster preparedness; and (4) to meet the needs of disaster survivors and communities during response and recovery efforts:

  • In May, FEMA launched its first mobile site, m.fema.gov. The mobile disaster assistance registration form is one of several improvements FEMA will be making to m.fema.gov.  Future improvements will allow applicants to check on their status or update an existing application.
  • Administrator Fugate launched his own Twitter account:@Craigatfema, adding to FEMA’s already aggressive online presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
  • FEMA was named one of the top 10 most prolific federal agencies on YouTube and was one of the first federal agencies to have a presence on Facebook.
  • FEMA established relationships with leading technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Verizon, Harris, Facebook, TechNet to help enhance FEMA’s online presence and communications tools.
  • In addition to m.fema.gov, FEMA has a FEMA En Espanola web site, the addition of disaster information data feeds to the FEMA.gov web site and a joint State of Tennessee-FEMA Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TNDisasterInfo) designed to be a hub for community information.
  • Under Administrator Fugate’s leadership, FEMA has increased efforts to provide accessible information to our constituents with disabilities, including captioning for stakeholder and constituent teleconferences and providing accessible materials for constituent webcasts.
  • Administrator Fugate continues to participate in roundtables and forums that explore how the emerging role of technology in emergency management.