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Business and the Economy
Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Individual Federal Disaster Assistance Available for Historic Floods

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KY3
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Individuals can now seek federal disaster assistance from storms in late December and early January.  President Obama Thursday granted Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s request for a federal disaster declaration to help those impacted by historic flooding.

The storms led to 16 confirmed deaths and destroyed or significantly damaged nearly 1000 homes.

The declaration makes the individual assistance program available to eligible residents in 33 Missouri counties.  Counties included are:  Barry, Barton, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Maries, McDonald, Morgan, Newton, Osage, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright.

The federal assistance can help with things like temporary housing and repairs and replacing household items damaged or lost as a result of flooding.  Those affected by the floods are encouraged to document losses, including photographing damage and retaining receipts.

According to the governor’s office, individuals who sustained damage or losses due to the flooding between Dec. 23, 2015 and Jan. 9, 2016 in one of the Missouri counties included in the disaster declaration may register for disaster aid online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The Governor said the quicker that Missourians register with FEMA, the more quickly they may be able to receive assistance.

The deadline for most individual assistance programs is 60 days following the President’s major disaster declaration. Disaster aid to eligible individuals generally falls into the following categories:

·         Housing Assistance may be available for up to 18 months for displaced persons whose residences were heavily damaged or destroyed. Funding also can be provided for housing repairs and replacement of damaged items to make homes habitable.

·         Disaster Grants, which are available to help meet other serious disaster related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs. These may include replacement of personal property, and transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses.

·         Low-Interest Disaster Loans are available after a disaster for homeowners and renters from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover uninsured property losses. Loans may be available for repair or replacement of homes, automobiles, clothing or other damaged personal property. Loans are also available to businesses for property loss and economic injury.

·         Other Disaster Aid Programs include crisis counseling, disaster-related unemployment assistance, legal aid and assistance with income tax, Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri on Dec. 27, as heavy rain, flooding and flash flooding impacted the state. The Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan also was activated, allowing state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.