New Mexico Legal Aid

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Disaster Benefits

Timeline of Disaster Benefits

These are some of the challenges disaster survivors may encounter regarding public benefits and assistance, categorized into short-term, medium-term, and long-term difficulties:

  • Securing emergency aid for immediate necessities like food, water, shelter, and medical attention.
  • Finding temporary housing support.
  • Applying for disaster SNAP programs.
  • Seeking benefits from FEMA.
  • Applying for disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).
  • Retrieving essential documents for accessing public benefits (e.g., ID, proof of residence, employment records).
  • Navigating through FEMA claims and appeals.
  • Accessing housing assistance programs at federal, state, and local levels for suitable shelter, home repairs, or transitioning to new permanent residences.
  • Filing weekly claims for disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).
  • Appealing decisions related to unemployment benefits.
  • Applying for SBA loans.
  • Replacing crucial documents required for accessing public benefits (e.g., ID, proof of residence, employment records).
  • Accessing public benefits for long-term housing requirements.
  • Recovering from enduring economic challenges, such as job loss, reduced income, and revitalizing local businesses.

Public Benefits after a Disaster

In New Mexico, immediate aid is accessible to individuals and families in the wake of a disaster, aiming to address essential needs like sustenance, shelter, and medical attention.

Here are key sources and forms of emergency aid available:

  • The New Mexico Human Services Department extends assistance through initiatives such as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), catering to those not regularly enrolled in SNAP but requiring food aid due to a disaster. Even regular SNAP recipients may receive additional or emergency SNAP benefits post-disaster. Explore further details here.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides financial relief for housing and other disaster-related expenses, encompassing temporary housing aid, emergency home repairs, and allocations for essential household items. More information is available here. Alternatively, you can text SHELTER followed by your zip code (e.g., “SHELTER 01234”) to 4FEMA (43362).
  • Various entities such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and local community organizations extend financial support, including immediate necessities like food, shelter, and water. Explore further information here.
  • Local administrations often establish emergency operations centers to coordinate disaster responses, encompassing rescue missions, temporary shelters, and the distribution of provisions, like food and supplies. Consult your local emergency management authorities, voluntary organizations, or dial your local 2-1-1 for assistance.

Housing Assistance

In New Mexico, Housing Assistance programs are mobilized to support affected individuals and families in finding suitable shelter, repairing damaged homes, or assisting with the transition to new permanent residences if necessary. The framework for this assistance typically involves a combination of federal, state, and local resources.

Here’s a detailed look at how these programs typically operate:

  • FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP): Provides financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet these needs through other means. This can include temporary housing assistance (rental assistance, hotel/motel vouchers), home repair assistance for uninsured or underinsured damages, and in extreme cases, home replacement. Learn more by clicking here
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Home and Personal Property Loans: The SBA offers disaster loans to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate in a declared disaster area. Learn more by clicking here. 
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Offers programs for long-term recovery, including the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program, which supports the repair of homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Learn more about HUD disaster resources by clicking here
  • New Mexico department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM): Manages and distributes federal disaster recovery funds to affected residents and businesses. The state works closely with FEMA and HUD to implement and oversee recovery programs. Learn more about DHSEM by clicking here
  • Local Governments: May also provide resources and support through their own housing departments or partnerships with local non-profits and community organizations. For more information reach out to your city or county officials.

Financial Assistance After a Fire

In New Mexico, After a disaster strikes, a range of financial aid options become accessible to aid individuals and families in their recovery efforts. These resources target both immediate and enduring financial requirements stemming from disaster-induced damages.

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program: This program extends financial aid or direct services to individuals facing essential expenses and significant needs they can’t address through other means. Support encompasses temporary housing, home repair or replacement, as well as disaster-related costs like medical, dental, and funeral expenses. For more information click here.
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA): DUA furnishes unemployment benefits to those who have lost their jobs directly due to a disaster, and who aren’t eligible for regular unemployment insurance. For more information click here.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans: These loans, offered at favorable interest rates, cater to homeowners, renters, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, facilitating the repair or replacement of damaged or destroyed real estate, personal belongings, machinery, equipment, inventory, and business assets. For More information click here.
  • New Mexico department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM): Charged with managing federal funds earmarked for disaster recovery endeavors in New Mexico, this unit administers various programs designed to rebuild and rejuvenate affected areas, including financial assistance for housing and infrastructure restoration. For more information click here.
  • Insurance Claims: Individuals holding insurance policies may access financial aid by submitting claims for covered losses, encompassing damages to homes, personal belongings, and vehicles. Familiarize yourself with your policy terms. If you don’t possess a copy, reach out to your agent or insurer and ask for one. Retain your receipts. In case of evacuation or displacement, ensure you retain duplicates of all expenses like dining, lodging, and other necessary costs incurred due to inability to return home. Claims should be lodged with your insurance provider, although the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) may offer guidance to citizens regarding insurance queries and the claims procedure. For more information click here.

Food Assistance after a Disaster

After a Disaster in New Mexico, food assistance becomes a critical need for many individuals and families affected by the event. Several programs and initiatives are activated to ensure that those impacted have access to food during a disaster.

  1. Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP): This program offers short-term food assistance to eligible households that do not regularly receive SNAP benefits. D-SNAP aims to help those whose food supplies were disrupted by providing funds to purchase groceries. Learn more about D-SNAP by clicking here.
  2. Replacement SNAP Benefits: This program offers replacement SNAP benefits to households who are already receiving SNAP benefits and have lost food due to a disaster such as a hurricane, flood, or power outage. Learn more by clicking here.
  3. Supplemental SNAP Benefits: This program offers supplemental benefits to existing SNAP recipients’ benefits when there are disaster situations. Learn more by clicking here

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA offers various disaster assistance programs for losses in crops and livestock, as well as for the rehabilitation of farmland, watersheds, and forests, and to provide support for rural businesses and homes.

  • Mora NRCS Center: 523 State Highway 518, Mora, NM 87732, Phone: (575) 387-2424
  • Las Vegas NRCS Center: 1927 A7thStreet, Las Vegas, NM 87701, Phone: (505) 425-3594 x3
  • Raton NRCS Center: 245 Park Avenue, Room 206, Raton, NM 87740-3800, Phone: (575) 445-9571 x3
    1. Emergency Watershed Protection Program, provides technical and financial aid to mitigate threats caused by natural disasters affecting watersheds. For more information click here or Contact the New Mexico Watershed Protection Program Director, Kenneth Branch, at (505) 761-4454 or for details.
    2. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) assists farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners in resource management, including soil erosion control and water quality preservation. For more information, click here or contact your local NRCS Office.


  • San Miguel and Mora County FSA Service Center Office: 1927 A 7th St, Las Vegas, NM 87701, Phone: (505) 425-3594 ext 2
  • Taos County FSA Service Center Office: 224 Cruz Alta Rd, Taos, NM 87571-5947, Phone: (575) 758-3863
  • Colfax County FSA Service Center Office: 245 Park Ave, Raton, NM 87740-3800, Phone: (575) 445-9471
    1. The FSA Emergency Forest Restoration Program offers various benefits to private landowners, including repairing fencing, tree planting, and road restoration to enhance forest health. For further details, click here.
    1. The Emergency Conservation Program extends funding assistance to farmers and ranchers for repairing damaged farmland and implementing water conservation measures. For more information, click here.
    1. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) compensates for grazing losses caused by wildfires. Additionally, LFP benefits may cover grazing acreage losses on federally managed lands where normal livestock grazing is prohibited by federal agencies. Details can be found here.
    1. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths exceeding normal mortality due to adverse weather or attacks by federally reintroduced wild animals. For more details click here.
    1. Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish offers aid to eligible producers for losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions not covered by LFP and LIP. For additional information, click here.
    1. The Emergency Loan Program provides loans to aid producers in recovering from production and physical losses due to natural disasters, droughts, floods, or quarantines. For more information, click here.
    1. The Disaster Set-Aside Program allows producers with existing FSA direct loans to defer one year’s payment to the loan’s end if unable to make scheduled payments. Assistance is available in designated emergency counties or contiguous counties. For more information, click here.
    1. The Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) compensates producers of covered noninsurable crops for losses due to natural disasters. Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for the current crop year. For more information click here.
    1. The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial aid to orchardists and nursery tree growers for replanting or rehabilitating eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters. For more information, click here.

For information on all disaster relief USDA programs, click here.

For additional assistance related to livestock loss, forage loss, fencing, structures, and water supply for food producers, more information can be found here.

How to reach us

If you’re facing a disaster-related legal issue, we’re here to assist you. Here’s how you can contact us:

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