Your life has been turned upside down, but you can take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. All are at the ready to lend helping hands because you survived the latest disaster! Now What?
Natural Disasters (Acts of God)
Don’t expect FEMA to automatically take care of you. Remember that disaster recovery is the responsibility of the individual state in which you live. FEMA comes in only after the state requests them to do so. Once your state has requested FEMA’s assistance, you must register with FEMA to find out if you qualify for assistance. To find out what assistance is available for your area, go to:
File Insurance Claims
Unless you know you’re going to be back in your home within a few days, cancel all of your utilities. There are a lot of reasons for doing this, but the one we’re most concerned about is you don’t want to be charged for using something you aren’t using, i.e. you don’t want to be charged for electricity at your home when Harvey struck, and also being charged for electricity at a new, though temporary, residence.
Go to and submit either a “vacation hold” or “forward to new address” for all of your items that are delivered to you via the U.S. Postal Service.
This is the money management category in which we receive the greatest number of questions and requests for assistance. Again, because every situation is different, the information and recommendations made are designed to be of benefit to the greatest number of survivors.
If you would like to have your interest rate, minimum payment, or other terms and conditions changed in your current agreement with one of your creditors, the following information is designed to help you.
Do you have all of your credit and debit cards physically with you right now? If not, if they were lost in a storm, fire, etc. or they had to be left behind when you evacuated, we recommend that you contact the card issuing company, cancel the card as lost due to a disaster, and request a new card.
Because your life is temporarily in disarray, unscrupulous individuals may try to take advantage of the fact that you are a bit distracted, and they will try to steal your identity for their own personal gain. To help prevent that from occurring, we recommend that you place a Hurricane Harvey Survivor notice on your credit report at each of the three major credit bureaus, then freeze your credit report.