No Flood Insurance? FEMA May Be Able to Help

If you experienced flooding in the recent disaster, but do not have flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may help by providing federal disaster relief.

On August 14, 2016, President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the State of Louisiana, designating East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa parishes as eligible for federal disaster assistance. Whether you are an individual, family, or small business affected by the recent flooding, you may be eligible for the following programs and/or low interest loans:

Grants for home repairs not covered by insurance (Individuals and Households Program), the goal of which is to get your home back to a livable condition.

FEMA may provide up to $33,000 for uninsured or underinsured disaster-damaged homes. Certain individuals or homeowners may also apply for a low-interest loan to cover additional repair costs (see below). Repair and replacement items include:

Structural elements (foundation, outside walls, roof);
Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinetry;
Septic or sewage;
Well or other water systems;
HVAC systems;
Electrical, plumbing, and gas systems;
Property access (i.e. privately owned access roads and driveways);
For Mobile Homes: Blocking, leveling, anchoring, and reconnecting or resetting sewer, water, electrical and fuel lines and tanks.

FEMA will not pay to return a home to its pre-disaster condition. Homes in a Special Flood Hazard Area are only eligible for this assistance if the homeowner had insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. However, assistance is still available on the condition applicants obtain and maintain flood insurance.

Disaster survivors must meet the following criteria to be considered for assistance:

Disaster losses are in a Presidentially declared disaster area;
A member of the household must be a United States citizen, a non?citizen national, or a qualified alien;
The damaged home is where the applicant lives the majority of the year;
The damaged home is inaccessible or not livable due to the disaster; and
The disaster survivor has necessary expenses or serious needs because of the disaster, not covered by insurance or any other source.

Loans are available up to $200,000 for a primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans are available up to $2 million for business property losses.
Loans for up to $2 million are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the adverse economic impact.

This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed $2 million.

Loans of up to $500,000 are available for farmers, ranchers, and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding their primary residence.

FEMA also offers other assistance for Individuals and Households, including grants for uninsured, disaster?related necessary expenses and serious needs, including:

Grants to replace personal property and help meeting medical, dental, funeral, transportation, and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state, and charitable aid programs.

Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters.
Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.
Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster, income tax assistance for filing casualty losses, advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits, and social security matters.

Applicants are responsible for providing all documentation for FEMA to evaluate eligibility, and may need to provide proof of occupancy, ownership, income loss, and/or information concerning their housing situation prior to the disaster. Applicants should keep all receipts and records for any housing expenses incurred because of the disaster. This includes receipts for repair supplies, labor, and rent payments.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can apply for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

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Seale & Ross works with individuals and business clients on insurance-related matters, including flood insurance claims. To connect with the firm please email or call 985.542.8500.