April 1, 2024

COFA Citizens May Now Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance

Citizens of the Freely Associated States, collectively known as COFA citizens, whose primary residences on Maui were affected by the August wildfires and high winds may now apply for FEMA disaster assistance.


President Biden recently signed into law the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2024, extending federal benefits to COFA citizens who were previously ineligible to apply for FEMA assistance, including grants. Among them are citizens of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.


The FEMA disaster application period opened Monday, April 1, only to those COFA citizens who legally resided in the United States and had a primary home on Maui that was affected by the wildfires. The application window for COFA citizens closes Friday, May 31.


To apply, COFA citizens may call 808-784-1952 or visit the Lahaina Disaster Recovery Center in the Civic Center Gymnasium at 1840 Honoapi‘ilani Highway. Phone lines and recovery center hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. HST Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. HST Saturday; closed Sundays.


Whether COFA citizens apply by phone or at the Disaster Recovery Center, interpreters are available to help applicants in their preferred languages, including Marshallese, Chuukese, Kosraean, Palauan, Carolinian, Chamorro and American Sign Language.


FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance specialists on Maui are also available to help COFA citizens apply for FEMA assistance.

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