Individual Assistance (IA)

Disaster Assistance Information

The Individual Assistance coordinates with federal, state, local, and voluntary/non-profit entities to provide recovery assistance following a disaster that impacts individuals and households, businesses, and/or the agricultural community in the State of California.

Individuals and Households

When individuals and households are affected by an emergency or disaster, assistance may come in a variety of ways. This may include government, non-profit, volunteer and faith-based agencies/organizations. Although disaster assistance programs are not designed to return you to pre-disaster condition, they may help you begin the Recovery Process.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations in declared disaster areas damaged by floods and other acts of nature, riots, civil disorders, or industrial accidents such as oil spills. SBA is the primary form of federal assistance for the repair and rebuilding of non-farm business disaster losses. 

  • Physical Disaster 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 up to $2.0 million to qualified businesses or private non-profit organizations.
  • Economic Disaster Injury Loans - If your business or private non-profit organization is located in a declared disaster area, and suffered substantial economic injury as a direct result of a declared disaster, you are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

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 (see instructions) and include a completed California Agricultural Commissioner Disaster Report form.

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. Eligible businesses include small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organization of any size.

Additional Resources:

Information for Local Jurisdictions

It is the responsibility of the local jurisdiction to assess damage information and determine if the extent of damage is beyond the capabilities of local resources. The damage definitions sheet can be used to help compile damage information to be captured on the Initial Damage Estimate (IDE) in the Response Information Management System (RIMS).

When considering federal assistance under the U.S. Small Business Administration, local jurisdiction officials should consider the minimum criteria.  Additionally, prior to requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the factors identified in the 44 Code of Regulations (CFR) should be reviewed.

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

Once a PDA is conducted, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) uses the information to determine whether further assistance can be requested. In all disasters, Cal OES Individual Assistance staff can assist local representatives in identifying the need to establish a Local Assistance Center and specific resources to assist the community in its recovery efforts.

Contact us

Assistance and Services Brochure


Assistance and Services Brochure (ADA Compliant)

(Brochure is being updated)