CNN offers good advice when it comes to determining what to do when disaster strikes:
* Get yourself safe, then busy. Water, food and shelter first, and accept any offers of short-term help in the form of cash.
* Get to a bank. In a pinch, any bank. Without identification, they’ll work doubly hard to confirm your identity, but you will be able to access your money. If your old bank has been destroyed, you’ll still be able to transfer your account.
* Got income? Check with your employer regarding their disaster plan.
* Apply for unemployment if necessary. FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers will handle this if you go to them.
* Contact any bank or institution to which you owe money. You don’t want any debt collectors seeking you out while you’re just trying to stay alive.
* Get free advice. CNN suggests the Financial Planning Association.
* Get to the library. There are many forms that you’ll need to fill out in order to receive relief.
* Seek long-term disaster relief. There are different types of loans available, including home disaster, business disaster, and economic injury. More information is available at the Small Business Administration.
Published or updated September 13, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.