Federal Disaster Declaration and What It Means for You

Federal Disaster Declaration and What It Means for You

On May 17, 2024, President Biden declared a federal disaster for regions affected by the severe storms and flooding that began on April 26, 2024. This declaration activates various forms of federal assistance, allowing individuals and businesses impacted by the disaster to access necessary support. Although the IRS has yet to announce disaster relief measures, taxpayers must know they can already seek assistance from FEMA. Here’s what you need to know and the steps you can take now.

Understanding the Federal Disaster Declaration

The federal disaster declaration means that affected areas are now eligible for federal aid to help recover from the damage. This includes assistance for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Immediate Steps for Affected Individuals and Businesses

  1. Contact FEMA: Start by registering with FEMA. You can apply for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. FEMA can provide various forms of assistance, from grants for temporary housing to funds for essential home repairs not covered by insurance.  (FEMA disaster declaration #: Severe Storms, Straight-line Winds, Tornadoes, and Flooding (4781))
  2. Document Your Losses: Gather and safeguard any documentation of your losses. This includes photos of damaged property, expense receipts, and any insurance claims you have filed. Accurate records will be essential for FEMA assistance and future IRS relief measures.
  3. Understand FEMA Programs: Review the resources FEMA provides to understand what assistance you may be eligible for. Details about the disaster declaration and specific programs can be found on FEMA’s website.
  4. Prepare for IRS Relief: While the IRS has not yet declared specific disaster relief, they often provide additional time to file tax returns, pay taxes, and perform other time-sensitive acts. Keep an eye on the IRS’s Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses page for updates. This page also offers guidance on reconstructing records to prove disaster-related losses.

If you’ve been affected by the recent storms and flooding, starting the recovery process now is vital by reaching out to FEMA and documenting your losses. While we await potential IRS disaster relief announcements, taking these initial steps can help ensure you receive the support you need. Stay informed and utilize the available resources to navigate this challenging time.

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