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News Highlight
Feb 28, 2013

When Severe Weather Strikes, Check in with Benefits.gov

This is an image of a tornado. Severe weather has affected the United States recently, from brutal winter storms in New England to tornadoes causing damage and destruction across the South. In fact, the end of winter through mid-summer is considered "tornado season," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). After the result of severe weather like hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding, it can be tough to figure out where to turn to for disaster recovery. Benefits.gov is here to help put the pieces back together.

While Benefits.gov is dedicated to helping citizens find general assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) always leads the Federal government's recovery effort when the Federal government responds to help citizens in need. Before the severe weather hits, be sure to check out Ready.gov, which is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters.

Here are some of the many programs that we house on Benefits.gov that may assist you on your path to disaster recovery:

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
This program, managed by FEMA, is available to any property owner located in one of the over 20,600 U.S. communities participating in the NFIP. In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must live in, or own property or a business in an area that is prone to flooding and you must be in need of disaster relief assistance or guidance.

Individuals and Households Program (IHP) - Housing Assistance
After a Presidential disaster declaration is made, you may be eligible for disaster assistance, including grant assistance. After you register with FEMA for disaster assistance, FEMA will consider you for several sorts of IHP assistance, including grants to repair or replace your damaged primary residence, and temporary housing assistance (including rental assistance).

Casualties, Disasters and Theft
This Internal Revenue Service (IRS) program offers tax relief for casualty losses that result from the destruction of or damage to your property from any sudden, unexpected, or unusual event such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, fire, earthquake or even volcanic eruption.

Crop Insurance
The program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), protects agricultural producers against crop losses resulting from natural causes. It also protects against the loss of livestock. Availability of these crop policy plans varies by state and county.

To expand your search for assistance beyond the programs mentioned here, you can visit our homepage and try our Benefit Finder by clicking the "Start Now" button. You can also visit FEMA's www.DisasterAssistance.gov, where you can find even more disaster related forms of assistance that can be searched according to your situation.