Individual Assistance

The Recovery Individual Assistance (IA) Unit coordinates with federal, state, local, and voluntary/PNP entities to provide recovery assistance to individuals, households, businesses, and agricultural communities affected by an emergency or disaster. This Unit establishes and maintains relationships with nonprofit agencies to support disaster recovery activities.

Following a local or state emergency proclamation, the Recovery IA Unit works directly with the city or county to establish a Local Assistance Center (LAC) to provide essential services to households that a disaster has impacted, as appropriate and requested. Our staff coordinates with other state agencies to have a physical presence at the LAC to provide services to disaster survivors.

Additionally, the Unit provides the Recovery Disaster Analysis Unit with critical data and information to support development of federal disaster declaration request letters and coordination of housing support functions to identify community-driven, long-term housing solutions for disaster survivors.

Assistance and Services for Disaster Recovery Brochure & Directory

The brochure and directory provide resources, programs, and services for California residents and businesses impacted by disasters. Additional resources may become available depending on the type of disaster.

​Individuals, Households, and Businesses

Voluntary Agencies, such as the local American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, are often ready to step in and help take care of immediate needs. These organizations may be able to assist with sheltering or hotel vouchers, food, or clothing. Please contact local voluntary organizations in your area or the Information and Referral line by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting 2-1-1 California.

Insurance is the first resource in recovering from a disaster. Contact your insurance agent or company representative to report your losses, review your coverage, and answer any questions. The California Department of Insurance provides assistance with insurance issues and can be reached by calling 1-800-927-HELP (4357) or by visiting the Department of Insurance website.

Local Programs, services, and/or fee waivers may be available to assist with recovery efforts. Contact your local city or county for additional information. As a result of a disaster, the Governor may issue an Executive Order that allows special fee waivers and filing extensions for replacing important government records (i.e., birth and death certificates, identification cards, etc.). For fee waiver and filing extension information related to a specific disaster, contact the following state departments: Department of Motor Vehicles, California Department of Public Health, Franchise Tax Board, and/or the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Contact information for each of these departments is listed below.

State and Federal Programs may be requested if the Governor determines that recovery appears to be beyond the combined resources of both the local and state government. Based on the magnitude and severity of the event, assistance may be requested from Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and may include the Individuals and Household Program (IHP) to assist with home repairs, temporary housing, and other needs. Depending on the disaster, recovery assistance may also include programs, such as Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and Legal Services. When IHP is implemented, the State Supplemental Grant Program is made available to assist with unmet needs.
In the absence of federal assistance, residents affected by a disaster may need to rely on personal resources and assistance from local programs and/or voluntary organizations.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to eligible homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and certain private nonprofit organizations in areas declared a disaster by SBA. SBA is most often the primary form of federal assistance that becomes available in California.

  • Physical Damage Loans are for permanent rebuilding and replacement of uninsured or underinsured disaster-damaged privately-owned real and/or personal property. SBA makes physical disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, businesses, and certain private nonprofit organizations.
  • Economic Disaster Injury Loans are for businesses or private nonprofit organizations who are located in a declared disaster area, and suffered substantial economic injury as a direct result of a declared disaster.

Agricultural Community

An agricultural disaster designation may be made in a county declared as a disaster area by the President or designated by the Secretary of  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a disaster area. A designation provides Emergency Loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, and other natural disasters. The Emergency Loan program may also be implemented for certain quarantines. Producers affected may apply for low-interest emergency loans in counties named as primary or contiguous under a disaster designation. A request should be completed by the county agricultural commissioner and include a completed California Agricultural Commissioner Disaster Report form (see links below).

In response to a determination of a natural disaster by the Secretary of USDA, SBA makes an  economic injury disaster declaration making low interest loans available to eligible businesses. These include small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, nonprofit organization of any size.

Information for Local Jurisdictions

It is the responsibility of the local jurisdiction to provide initial damage estimates (IDE) and determine if the extent of damage is beyond the capabilities of local resources. The damage definitions sheet (see link below) can be used to help compile damage information to be captured on the IDE in CalEOC.

Local officials should be aware of the minimum criteria required for SBA assistance and the factors considered in the 44 Code of Regulations (CFR) for a Presidential Disaster Declaration (see links below).

Requests for assistance should be made as soon as feasibly possible. Based on the IDE, a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) may be conducted when pursuing federal assistance to determine the impact and magnitude of damage. The PDA will consist of a team of local, state, and federal representatives.

Once a PDA is conducted, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) uses the information to determine whether federal assistance is warranted. Cal OES Individual Assistance can assist local representatives in identifying the need to establish a Local Assistance Center (LAC) and specific resources to assist the community in its recovery efforts. See LAC Guide below.

Additional Assistance Resources

Equal Housing Protection

Homeowners, homebuyers and tenants have protection from housing discrimination under California Civil Rights laws through the  Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The law prohibits discrimination in all aspects of the housing business, including: Renting or leasing, sales, mortgage lending and insurance, advertising, and practices such as restrictive covenants, as well as permitting new construction.

Health Information

For information on health concerns related to a disaster you can contact (916) 650-6416 or visit the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) preparedness page

Humanitarian Organizations and Faith-Based Institutions Resources

The American Red Cross (Red Cross) provides emergency food, shelter, and disaster health and mental health services to individuals and families that have been affected by a disaster. Contact the ARC at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
If you have been affected by a disaster, “SAFE and WELL” provides a way for you to register yourself as “safe and well.” From a list of standard messages, you can select those that you want to communicate to your family members, letting them know of your well-being. For more information, visit the Red Cross website.

The Salvation Army provides a variety of services including help with food, household needs, clothing and personal needs. For more information call 1-800-SALARMY (725-2769) or visit the Salvation Army website.

Employment Assistance

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) and local partner agencies at all America’s Job Center of California locations throughout the state offer a wide variety of employment services, such as job search and referrals, and training. Job seekers and employers can connect with thousands of available job opportunities and qualified candidates through CalJobs, California’s online labor exchange system. You can also search for the nearest America’s Job Center of California on their website.

Workers who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own, such as in the case of a disaster, may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The quickest and easiest way to apply is online. If you already have a UI claim, the best way to re-open your claim is through UI Online. Visit the California Employment Development Department (EDD) Unemployment Insurance Claims page.

UI claims also can be filed by telephone at (800) 300‑5616.

  • For Cantonese, call (800) 547-3506;
  • For Mandarin, call (866) 303-0706;
  • For Spanish, call (800) 326-8937;
  • For Vietnamese, call (800) 547-2058;
  • For TTY, call (800) 815‑9387.

General Assistance Programs

The following general assistance programs are administered within each California County and may provide assistance to eligible individuals affected by a disaster.

  • CalFresh: visit the CalFresh website or call (877) 847-3663
  • CalWORKs: contact your local county welfare/social services department. To find your local office visit the CalWORKs website.
  • Crisis Counseling: contact your local county mental health department.
  • Women, Infant, Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program: visit the WIC website and click on “Join WIC” or call (888) 942-9675.
  • Senior & Disabled Adult Services: The California Department of Aging contracts with and provides leadership and direction to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) that coordinate a wide array of services to seniors and adults with disabilities. You can locate an AAA in your area by calling (800) 510-2020; TTY (800) 735-2929 or visit the AAA Listing page.

Insurance & Rebuilding Assistance

California Department of Insurance (CDI):

The California Department of Insurance provides assistance on insurance issues, such as claim handling delays, additional living expenses, underinsurance disputes, availability, etc. If you are experiencing difficulty with the processing of your claim or wish to have an underinsurance issue investigated, contact the officers at the CDI’s Consumer Hotline at (800) 927-4357; TTY: (800) 482-4833 for assistance. For additional information you may also wish to visit the Getting Help page on the CDI website.

Contractors State License Board (CSLB):

The Contractors State License Board verifies contractor licenses, investigates complaints, and provides helpful information about hiring a licensed contractor. For information on hiring or filing a complaint regarding a contractor, disaster victims may call CSLB’s Disaster Hotline M-F from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at (800) 962-1125, or the 24-hour automated telephone response system, (800) 321-2752. Licenses can also be verified online on the CSLB website. You can also view the CSLB video,  “Rebuilding After a Natural Disaster” and additional disaster resources on the CSLB Disaster Help Center.

Housing and Community Development (HCD):

The California Department of Housing and Community Development can assist with manufactured housing questions including repairs, installations and/or registration and titling. For information on obtaining construction permits for manufactured homes or parks contact the Riverside Area Office at (951) 782-4420 or the Sacramento Area Office at (916) 255-2501. For information concerning Registration and Titling call (800) 952-8356; TTY (800) 735-2929 or visit the HCD website. For other types of housing recovery funding opportunities, please contact your local housing or economic development department.

Record Replacement Assistance

California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV):

The California Department of Motor Vehicles can respond to questions and provide the forms needed to assist individuals in replacing DMV documents, such as driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle cards certificates and certificates of title, that were lost as a result of the disaster. Contact DMV at (800) 777-0133; TTY (800) 735-2929 or (800) 368-4327 for hearing or speech impaired or visit the website the DMV website.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) – Vital Records:

The California Department of Public Health is working with those who have lost vital records as a result of the disaster. Birth, death, and marriage records should be requested from the county recorder’s office in the county where the event occurred. Visit CDPH’s list of county recorders or you may call (916) 445-2684; TTY 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2929.


Tax Assistance

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA):

Emergency tax or fee relief is available from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (formerly the State Board of Equalization (BOE)) for business owners or feepayers directly affected by disasters. Relief may include the extension of tax return due dates, relief of penalty and interest, or replacement copies of records lost due to disasters. For questions or assistance regarding sales and use tax, or special taxes and fees, contact the CDTFA at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 1-800-735-2929) or visit the CDTFA website.

California Employment Development Department – Assistance for Employers:

CA employers who are directly affected by a state of emergency may request up to a 60-day extension to file their state payroll reports and to deposit state payroll taxes with the California Employment Development Department (EDD), without penalty or interest. For further information, visit EDD’s Emergency and Disaster Assistance for Employers page, or call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at (888) 745-3886; TTY (800) 547-9565.

Franchise Tax Board (FTB):

The Franchise Tax Board provides guidance in obtaining tax relief for disaster casualty losses. Contact FTB at (800) 852-5711; TTY (800) 822‑6268 or visit the FTB website and search for keyword “disaster losses.”

Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

For information on Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses, visit the IRS website and search for keywords “Disaster” or “Disaster Assistance”, or contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829‑1040; TTY: (800) 829‑4059.

Veterans Assistance

California County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO):

The County Veterans Service Officers plays a critical role in the Veteran’s advocacy system and is often the initial contact in the community for Veterans’ services. The CVSO is committed to providing a vital and efficient system of local services and advocacy to Veterans, their dependents and survivors. To find the nearest CVSO call (844) 737-8838 or visit the CVSO website.

California Department of Veterans Affairs:

If you have a home loan with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and your home has suffered structural damage caused by a disaster, contact our CalVet Claims adjuster at (800) 626-1613. This line is open 24 hours a day. For additional information visit the CalVet website.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

If you need information regarding Veterans Affairs (VA) health care, death benefits, pensions, disability claims, or other information related to VA, contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) 827-1000; TTY (800) 829-4833 or visit the ASK.VA.GOV.