6000, Taking Applications

Revision 23-1; Effective Jan. 31, 2023


6100 Introduction

Revision 07-1; Effective May 1, 2007


Immediately after a presidential disaster declaration, federal and state officials meet to begin preparations for accepting applications to the Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program (IHP) and Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan program. The method of taking applications for disaster assistance is teleregistration and online registration.


6200 National Teleregistration Center (NTC)

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009




6210 Application-Taking by Hotline

Revision 23-1; Effective Jan. 31, 2023 

The National Teleregistration Center (NTC) is part of FEMA. The NTC houses a national toll-free phone bank and computer center through which FEMA helps disaster victims by accepting their registration for assistance and providing information necessary for their recovery. The NTCs are in Denton, Texas, Winchester, Virginia and Hyattsville, Maryland.

A major advantage of the NTC is timeliness. Toll-free lines are always available, thus enabling disaster victims to call within hours of the president declaring a disaster. This compares to an average of four or five days to set up a walk-in application center in affected areas, which had been the traditional method of intake.

The NTC computer system is used to record vital caller data and to electronically transmit the data to disaster recovery programs.

The NTC first took calls from disaster victims in October 1989. Since that time, the Center has been involved in over 100 major disasters and millions of calls have been taken.

When calling FEMA's teleregistration number, applicants should have the following information:

  • the physical and mailing address of the damaged property, including ZIP code;
  • directions to the property;
  • a phone number where the applicant can be reached; and
  • the types of insurance carried on the property, if any.

Once the applicant is registered, a FEMA inspector will call within seven to 10 days to set up an appointment.


6220 Process for Disaster Victims

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009


  • Call to apply for assistance (National Teleregistration number is 1-800-621-3362) or register online.
  • The information provided by the applicant is put into the FEMA computer system.
  • Call a help line for assistance with questions. The FEMA National Help Line number is 1-800-621-3362 (same as Teleregistration number).
  • Disaster victims may make an optional visit to a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to receive more information after they have applied by teleregistration or online.
  • Inspector will call to schedule an appointment with the applicant.
  • Inspector will visit the applicant's damaged property.
  • If the applicant is eligible, disaster housing check will arrive.
  • If applicant is referred to SBA, SBA application packet will arrive in the mail.
  • If applicant is referred to ONA, ONA check will arrive, if eligible.
  • Call FEMA Fraud Hotline if you suspect someone is filing false damage claims. The number is 1-800-323-8603.


6230 Online Application

Revision 23-1; Effective Jan. 31, 2023 

Note: The online application is now available in Spanish. People who would like to apply for assistance in Spanish via phone should call 800-621-FEMA (3362).

The applicant may fill out the online application by going to https://www.disasterassistance.gov/. This is a new method that will provide users the opportunity to apply online and modify any information via the internet.

Note: Completing more than one registration will delay the processing of your case.

Applicants use the following process to register online:

  • Enter their personal information into the screen.
  • Follow the steps in the process.
  • Create an account to save their application.

Applicants use the following steps to check their registration:

Step 1

  • Wait 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, you will be able to check the status of your application.

Note: If applicants do not wait 24 hours, they may not see their registration. This does not mean they are not registered. It may simply mean that their registration has not been processed yet. Applicants should not re-register. Re-registering more than once will result in a delay of their application.

Step 2

Applicants may check the status of their application by:

  • using their PIN and password to log in;
  • reviewing their claim online; and
  • calling 1-800-621 FEMA (3362) if applicants do not see their claim and it has been more than 24 hours since they received their PIN and password.


6300 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs)

Revision 05-1; Effective October 1, 2004




6310 Introduction

Revision 05-1; Effective October 1, 2004


A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is a facility established in, or in close proximity to, a community affected by the disaster where victims can meet face-to-face with federal, state, local and volunteer agencies to:

  • discuss their disaster-related needs;
  • obtain information about disaster assistance programs;
  • teleregister for assistance;
  • update registration information;
  • learn how to complete the SBA application; and
  • request the status of their Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program application.


6320 DRC Locations

Revision 05-1; Effective October 1, 2004


Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are places where victims can obtain information about their application for assistance. Disaster victims should first register by calling the toll-free number. However, if they have not registered, telephones are available at the DRC to teleregister for disaster assistance. After the presidential declaration, one or more centers are opened in the disaster area. The centers are located in schools or other public facilities that are well-known locally, and large enough to have parking, indoor waiting areas and other facilities to accommodate the public.

Mobile centers may be used to provide services to victims in areas where the damage is not as concentrated and may be less severe. Representatives of the various public agencies travel from one location to another and set up in pre designated public facilities. Centers are established for as long as necessary to allow people to learn about the programs and obtain applications.


6330 Agencies in DRCs

Revision 05-1; Effective October 1, 2004


The types of agencies represented in DRCs depend on the type of disaster and the needs of the victims as shown in the survey information. The federal coordinating officer is the liaison between centers and federal agencies to ensure the latter's participation. The state coordinating officer is the liaison between the centers and local agencies and governments.


6340 DRC Operations

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009


ONA staff and the federal government are responsible for helping applicants by answering questions about application deadlines and furnishing other information concerning the requirements for assistance.

FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) share responsibility for releasing public information about the locations and hours of operation of DRCs. Depending on the need, centers may be open for a few days or several weeks, seven days a week, and 10 or more hours each day. Center staff should ensure that victims who work and are in the process of assessing the damage are able to apply for services.

FEMA staff train volunteers or reserve personnel to work the registration desk as registrars. The registration desk is the first point of interview for victims. Registrars refer victims to appropriate agencies.

ONA staff are available in the disaster assistance centers to answer questions that concern the ONA provision of the IHP and that are beyond the expertise of the FEMA registrar.


6350 HHSC Participation

Revision 23-1; Effective Jan. 31, 2023 

ONA staff are available to assist in providing registrars and other center staff with ONA information and analysis. HHSC staff also handle any questions regarding referral to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program). To be able to explain the ONA provision of IHP and answer questions, ONA staff attend all center meetings and training sessions, especially those conducted before opening. During the center's operation, staff provide technical assistance about the ONA program and explain any program handouts. Staff should work closely with the FEMA registrars, exit interviewer and center manager to resolve problems that arise.

The ESP director will determine how to provide program representation needed in the centers. Their decision is based on the number of centers open and the availability of staff. They may ask the regional director of administrative services (RDAS) for the staff needed. The RDAS supplies the needed staff, or requests additional staff from other regions.