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Assistance for Individuals

Iowa Individual Assistance Program

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 with incomes up to 200 percent of 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 Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD). When the program is activated, information and application instructions are available on the HSEMD Individual Disaster Assistance Programs page. 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 a county for the same event, the State program is automatically canceled for that county, as the federal program then goes into effect. The federal program does not have an income restriction as the Iowa Individual Assistance Program does.

Iowa Disaster Case Advocacy Program

The Iowa Disaster Case Advocacy Program is designed to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. The program is activated automatically when the Iowa Individual Assistance program is activated with a governor’s disaster proclamation. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice and referral to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program.

Iowans are eligible for Disaster Case Advocacy as soon as the Iowa Individual Assistance program is activated for the county where they reside. The program closes 180 days from the date of the governor’s proclamation. The program is administered by Iowa Community Action Association member agencies. For additional information, contact your local community action association.

Federal Individual Assistance Program

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.

Crisis Counseling

Project Recovery Iowa, a program of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, provides free counseling and support for those impacted by disasters with resources for ongoing support. Additionally, they offer educational resources, information, and emotional support. More information is available at

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 email or phone at (515) 725-3231Visit the DBHRT website.

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.

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Assistance for Agricultural Producers

Farm Service Agency Disaster Assistance Programs

Agricultural producers who have sustained losses from recent weather may be eligible to apply for assistance through their local Farm Service Agency office. Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency website  for more information.

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Private Non-profit Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may provide low-interest federal loans to private nonprofit organizations (PNPs) that provide essential services of a governmental nature after a disaster. Interested PNPs begin the process by first registering with FEMA. FEMA determines if the PNPs qualify for a grant under FEMA’s Public Assistance program, or if they will be referred to the SBA to apply for a low-interest federal disaster loan.

The SBA may lend PNPs up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. The SBA may also lend additional funds that help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent, or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For certain PNPs, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by disaster. EIDLs may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the nonprofit suffered any property damage.

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