Linn County was the first to be approved for individual federal disaster assistance after the derecho.
FEMA spokesman John Mills says they’ve already been able to process several claims. “FEMA has already approved more than $1.7 million in individual assistance grants for homeowners and renters in Linn County. More than 500 households have already been approved,” Mills says. He says many have already had money from their claims direct deposited into their accounts.
Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama Counties were recently added to the list for individual assistance. “As more people register for assistance, more damage assessments will be conducted and we will work with everyone on an individual basis to approve as many additional households as possible,” he says.
Mills says some of the residents of those ten counties may have pre-registered. He says if you had already registered before the individual assistance was approved in the additional counties you will know because you have received a nine-digit number and you won’t have to register again.
He says there are a couple of ways to register with FEMA. You can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov. Or you can call 800-621-3362. Mills says the federal money is intended to help fill gaps where you don’t have coverage. “If you have damage to your home and serious needs not covered by insurance — FEMA may be able to provide you with grant money that you would not have to repay to make basic home repairs, to pay for lodging reimbursement or temporary rent if you’ve had to move away from your home because of damage. And FEMA may also be able to give you some money to replace essential personal property,” according to Mills.
It is important that you first get ahold of your insurance agent. “A lot of people have insurance that covers them for wind damage, tornado damage, including wind in a derecho. S0, it’s important to make sure your insurance claims are filed and you stay in touch with your insurance company,” Mills says. “By law, FEMA is not allowed to duplicate insurance payments.”
You don’t have to wait for FEMA to start cleaning up but be sure to take photographs or video of the damage and keep all receipts for repair work.