In the aftermath of a disaster, it is our goal to help individuals and families return to normal and to facilitate the recovery of communities. In coordination with local, State, and Federal partners, as well as non-governmental organizations and private industries, we work to ensure that all available resources for individuals and families are provided in a timely and efficient manner.
In small disasters that do not receive a Federal Disaster Declaration, we work with county officials and non-profit organizations to coordinate goods and services for affected individuals and families. In major disasters which receive a Federal Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance, we work in collaboration with our partners at all levels of government to coordinate response. Unlike the Public Assistance Program, there is not a set threshold that must be met for a Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance. The amount and severity of the damage, frequency of disasters in the area, economic impact, socioeconomic data of the area, and insurance coverage for the damaged structures are all taken into consideration when requesting a disaster declaration. Prior to receiving Federal financial assistance, any insurance benefits must be exhausted to avoid duplication of benefits.
Many agencies are able to assist those affected by disaster return to normal. They include:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - This is the Federal agency primarily tasked with assisting in disaster. Its main Individual Assistance Program is the Individual and Households Program (IHP). The maximum IHP award during the Federal fiscal year 2015 is $32,900. The award amount is adjusted each year on October 1 to reflect the Consumer Price Index. This award is not dependent on the ability to repay a loan.
Housing Assistance: Those who are displaced from their primary residence and are uninsured or under-insured may be eligible for assistance. This assistance includes temporary housing, housing repair, housing replacement, and in rare instances permanent and semi-permanent housing.
Other Needs Assistance: This may be used for medical, dental, and funeral expenses caused by the disaster. Personal property, transportation, and moving and storage assistance may also be eligible after submitting a SBA loan application. This assistance is a cost share between FEMA and the State.
Disaster Legal Services: Low-income disaster survivors that have disaster-related legal needs including contractor issues, insurance claims, replacing legal documents, and landlord/tenant issues.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance: Unemployment and re-employment assistance is available to individuals who lost their business or job due to the disaster.
Crisis Counseling Assistance: A wide range of services are available to assist individuals and communities in recovering from disasters.
Small Business Administration (SBA) - In federally declared disasters, as well as in non-federally declared disasters that meet certain thresholds, the SBA can provide loans to individuals and businesses that have sustained disaster-related property or equipment damage, who have suffered a loss of income, or who need additional funding to cover operating expenses while working to reopen.
Home Physical Disaster Loans: Homeowners and renters may apply for this loan to repair or replace real estate and/or personal property damaged by a disaster.
Business Physical Disaster Loans: Businesses of any size may apply for this loan to repair or replace property owned by the business that was damaged by a disaster.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Working capital loans for small businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, and many non-profit organizations affected by disaster to meet their financial obligations. These loans assist through the disaster recovery period.
United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA FSA) - The USDA FSA provides assistance in the event of crop loss, livestock loss, or damage to farm property resulting from drought, flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other emergencies.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - After a disaster, the IRS is sometimes able to provide tax relief, adjustments, filing deadline extensions, and refunds to help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster.
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