Some people may face unexpected incidents in their lives. These situations can sometimes work in our favor and other times, not so much. Sadly, some of those unfortunate events may significantly affect our ability to support ourselves and the people we care about. Natural disasters stand out among such events because they can significantly affect people’s lives. Thankfully, there is federal government assistance available to support those who face such difficulties. For the purpose of helping those who were affected by natural disasters, the U.S. federal government established a large number of relief programs.
Disaster Relief Assistance Programs Offered By The Federal Government
The federal government aims to help Americans in situations where they most need assistance. Therefore, all kinds of needs are covered by these programs. This includes housing, food, money, legal services, and more. However, there is one element that all government assistance programs share. A person’s eligibility for these programs is based on their qualifications. For this reason, we will discuss a few of these disaster relief programs in this article. We will talk about how to apply as well as the requirements for each program.
The Disaster Assistance And Emergency Relief Program
The Disaster Assistance And Emergency Relief Program is a special tax law provision that has the goal of helping taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the consequences of natural disasters. The locations that the federal government has designated as significant disaster areas are the target of this program.
Individuals and businesses in disaster-affected areas can use this program to receive faster tax refunds by claiming losses from natural disasters on their previous year’s tax return. The person or company must file an amended return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may provide applicants more time to submit tax returns and make payments in some specific situations. To report a gain or deductible loss, eligible applicants must use Form 4684.
You must be located in a region that has been federally declared a disaster area to receive assistance under this program. There are typically two ways to deduct casualty losses:
- When filing your tax return in the year the incident happened, or
- If you submit an amended return to deduct the loss from the year before the disaster took place.
You can go through online resources or call 1-866-562-5227 if you need further information.
Disaster Legal Services
Disaster Legal Services (DSL) aims to offer legal assistance to low-income people who, before or after (presidentially proclaimed) major disaster, are unable to get legal services for their post-disaster needs. Through an agreement with the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers free legal services to those who have survived natural disasters. Those people must be unable to obtain quality legal support on their own.
There is one important thing to remember. This federal assistance program is unable to provide direct assistance in situations where there may be a fee involved, such as a settlement where the lawyer would be paid a percentage of the settlement. Instead, these cases are frequently forwarded to the local lawyer referral service. Local attorneys can typically provide the following kind of useful support:
- Assistance with insurance claims that might cover things like medical expenses and property damage.
- Help with hiring contractors and home repair contracts.
- Creating new wills, powers of attorneys, and other legal documents that were lost in the disaster.
- Advice on how to resolve issues with landlords.
Disaster Resources for Older Americans
It is obvious that the government will have resources available to assist vulnerable people during emergencies. For this reason, the Administration on Aging (AoA) has a complete page dedicated to preparation for unforeseen emergencies. The goal of this webpage is to assist American seniors. The page is useful for community service providers, caregivers, researchers, and students because it is open to the general public.
Before you can properly understand D-SNAP, you should first have some background about SNAP. To those who meet the requirements, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may issue Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. These cards work quite similarly to regular debit cards. They receive a specific amount of money each month on accounts connected to them for their holders to use. Bear in mind that you can only use EBT cards in stores that accept them as a payment method. Also, you may use the money to purchase eligible items that the program allows.
Unfortunate disasters can change a lot of things, including how the government determines who qualifies for aid programs. As a result, government regulations and eligibility criteria for D-SNAP will differ from those for SNAP. D-SNAP has the objective of helping low-income families that lost food supply as a result of a disaster. When the president issues an Individual Assistance declaration, D-SNAP is put into action in that state. If you have to pay for any of the following disaster-related expenses, even if you do not typically qualify for SNAP, you might still be eligible for D-SNAP:
- Business Repairs
- Home Repairs
- Expenses of Evacuation
- Expenses associated with a Temporary Housing
- Food loss after a disaster (only in specific cases)
- Lost income or no access to income for a significant portion of the benefit period
- Relocation Costs
If you want to get more information about this assistance opportunity, you should be on the lookout for local news sources. They will provide you with the details you need in case you are considering this program.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Even in a healthy economy, losing a job is bad enough. Being laid off when the economy is struggling is significantly worse. Compared to the other two possibilities, losing your job as a result of a natural disaster could be an utter nightmare. It is a good thing that the government puts effort to help those who are struggling because of such situations. People who lost their jobs as a result of a major disaster that the president declared are eligible for unemployment compensation under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance has some eligibility requirements that applicants must meet, much like all other federal assistance programs. If applicants meet one of the following requirements, the government may provide unemployment benefits during a disaster that has been declared by the president:
- A person who has lost their job as a result of the disaster
- If someone cannot get to their workplace because of the disaster
- The disaster has caused damage to the applicant’s workplace
- If the former head of the household passed as a result of a disaster, and now the applicant is the new head of the household
- The disaster results in an injury to the applicant
You should keep an eye out for announcements from your state if you want to take advantage of Disaster Unemployment Assistance. For further information, you can call 1-877-872-5627 as well.
It is difficult to handle a disaster’s consequences, but with some assistance, things might be a bit easier. The government is aware of how tough disasters can be for Americans. Therefore, they offer a wide range of assistance programs. Among the possibilities to consider are:
- The Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program
- Disaster Legal Services
- Disaster Resources for Older Americans
- D-SNAP (Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Your current situation will determine the best assistance opportunity for you. If a natural disaster has hit your state, you should keep up with local news announcements. That’s where you may find the most helpful resources for your situation.