Natural Disaster Relief

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. However, one curveball that can be hard to handle is a natural disaster. The aftermath of these disasters can give people a hard time. Luckily, the government understands just how hard natural disasters can be for people to deal with. That is why they have a variety of different assistance opportunities available to help during these situations. These assistance opportunities can be a huge relief and can support plenty of different situations that victims of a disaster may be dealing with. 

Different Government Disaster Relief Assistance Programs

The federal government wants to help Americans in these circumstances since they need the most assistance. These programs offer relief for all types of needs and necessities. Basic needs could include a place to stay, groceries, wages, legal aid, and so on. The list outlines how the federal government can help victims manage the aftermath of a natural disaster. All these programs have one common factor, which is that the government provides them to qualifying families and individuals. Eligibility determines whether someone can get benefits from these programs or not. In this article, we will tell you about some of these disaster relief programs. Additionally, we will let you know the eligibility requirements for each program and how you can apply.

The Disaster Assistance And Emergency Relief Program

The Disaster Assistance And Emergency Relief Program is a specific tax law provision. The aim is to assist taxpayers and businesses in financially recovering from the after-effects of natural disasters. This program particularly highlights locations that the federal government labels as a major disaster zone.

The way this program operates is that people and businesses in disaster-stricken zones might receive refunds on their taxes faster by claiming losses on their tax returns of the previous year due to natural disasters. The person or business would need to file an amended return. In certain circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might allow applicants extra time to file returns and pay taxes.

If you want to claim benefits from this program, you need to be in a federally-declared disaster zone. Generally, there are two ways to deduct disaster losses:

  • On your return in the year the natural disaster took place 
  • File an amended return to deduct the loss in the year before the disaster happened

If you are interested in getting more information, then you are in luck. You can look for resources online or reach out over the phone at 1-866-562-5227.

Disaster Legal Services

Disaster Legal Services (DSL) aims to offer legal aid to low-income people who, before or as an outcome of a presidentially declared major disaster, cannot get legal services for their needs after a disaster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association to offer free legal aid for natural disaster survivors. However, to qualify, the people must not be able to receive enough legal aid themselves. You should remember that this assistance option does not offer direct assistance to legal cases that result in a fee, such as a settlement where the lawyer would receive a part of the awarded amount. These cases are often sent to local lawyer referral services. Some types of helpful relief that local lawyers can offer typically include the following:

  • Insurance claim support, which could include healthcare bills, loss of property, and more.
  • Legal aid with home repair contracts and contractors.
  • Help with establishing legal documentation that was lost in the disaster which includes wills, powers of attorney, and more.
  • Help on dealing with issues that take place with landlords.

Disaster Resources for Older Americans

It is clear that the federal government has resources prepared to support vulnerable people that are going through tough times. That is why the Administration on Aging (AoA) created a whole page dedicated to emergency disaster preparedness. This resource page focuses on supporting senior Americans. The page is also accessible to the public. That means not only can it help seniors but it can also help caregivers, students, community service providers, and researchers.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Losing a job from a natural disaster is a complete nightmare. It’s already hard enough to lose your job. However, when you add in the aftermath of a natural disaster into the mix then it can be even more stressful. Fortunately, the federal government provides support to individuals who are going through these kinds of situations. Disaster Unemployment Assistance offers unemployment benefits to individuals who lost their job because of a presidentially declared major disaster.

Similar to other federal assistance opportunities, Disaster Unemployment Assistance comes with a few eligibility requirements that people need to meet. The federal government might offer unemployment benefits during a presidentially-declared disaster, in the case that applicants meet one of the following requirements:

  • An individual who lost their employment because of the disaster
  • Not able to go to their office or workplace because of the disaster
  • Their workplace was damaged by the disaster
  • The disaster led to the unfortunate death of the former head of the household, which led to the candidate to become the new head of the household
  • The applicant struggles with an injury that took place as a result of  the disaster

If you are interested in benefiting from Disaster Unemployment Insurance, then you should stay updated on any announcements from your state. You can also get in touch at 1-877-872-5627 for more information. 

In Conclusion

Going through a disaster can be challenging, but there is more relief than you imagine. The federal government knows that disasters can be a huge inconvenience for Americans. That is why they have several assistance programs that can help out. Some programs include:

  • The Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program
  • Disaster Legal Services
  • Disaster Resources for Older Americans
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance

The right support program will differ based on your current situation. If a natural disaster took place in your state, then you should remain updated with local news announcements. That is where you can find the best resource for what you are going through.