Assistance for Individuals
When a disaster occurs, the Governor will often issue a Disaster Proclamation in the affected counties. When a Governor's Disaster Proclamation is made in an Iowa county, the Iowa Individual Assistance (IA) Program can be activated at the request of local officials to help those Iowans adversely affected.
The Iowa IA Program provides up to $5,000 in reimbursements for damage incurred for families whose income is at or below twice the federal poverty level. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and for the expense of temporary housing. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The program is administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS). When the program is activated, information and application instructions are available on the IDHS website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the disaster proclamation to submit a claim.
If a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance is issued for the same event, the state program is automatically canceled as the federal program then goes into effect.
Current disaster assistance availability
At the present time, there are no counties where Iowa Individual Assistance is available.
The federal Individual Assistance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is activated when a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance is made. Generally, affected counties have 60 days from the date the declaration is made to apply for assistance with FEMA.
Federal Individual Assistance is made available to homeowners, renters and businesses and can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other aid programs. Individuals may also be eligible for other needs assistance including medical and dental expenses and replacement of essential personal property such as furniture, clothing and some appliances. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may also be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance. Grants do not have to be repaid, but loans from the SBA must be repaid.
At this time, there are no counties where the federal Individual Assistance program is currently available.
The Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program is available to Iowans through the Iowa Department of Human Services at 1-800-447-1985. Also, find information online about coping with/recovering from disasters, including brochures for teens and children, older adults, and emergency responders.
Project Recovery Iowa helps Iowans impacted by natural disasters. Services are provided by mental health professionals in your area. Visit the Project Recovery Iowa website for more information.
Iowa Disaster Behavioral Response Team (DBHRT) are trained volunteers who can mobilize resources to provide post-disaster mental health services statewide. The goal of Iowa DBHRT is to provide an organized response to individual victims, family members, volunteers, responders, survivors, or the community affected by critical incidents or disasters. Local authorities may request Iowa DBHRT assistance to meet the behavioral health needs of communities in crisis by contacting the HSEMD duty officer at any time by phone at (515) 725-3231 or email.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
After a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance, certain Iowans may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance extends income compensation to self-employed civilians, farm workers, individuals who have worked for only a few weeks, and others who have lost earned income or whose income has been interrupted as a result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States. The benefits cover those usually not entitled to unemployment insurance. Claims are handled by Iowa Workforce Development.
In addition to assistance filing a DUA claim, Iowa Workforce Development Centers offer reemployment services, including testing, counseling and placement. Job search and career information also is available IWD's website.
At this time, there is no Disaster Unemployment Assistance available for Iowans.