Don't Let Hurricane Season Take you by Storm
thetherNow that hurricane season is here, many Americans should be prepared for the weather conditions that may follow. Through devastating experiences with Hurricane Sandy, it can be very stressful for those living near areas prone to extreme weather conditions. Fortunately, Benefits.gov and DisasterAssistance.gov are here to help citizens make a plan by offering timely benefit and assistance information to disaster victims before, during and after the storm.

While Benefits.gov offers information on over 1,000 benefit and assistance programs, DisasterAssistance.gov's mission is focused on providing disaster survivors with information, support, services and the tools to access and apply for disaster relief. Offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DisasterAssistance.gov houses information on more than 50 forms of disaster assistance. Once on the site, you can even apply for some of these programs with a single, online application.

For tips on how to put your hurricane preparedness plan together, visit the Ready.gov hurricane preparation page for detailed, step-by-step information. Ready.gov is another helpful site designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. To get started, check out the Are You Ready? Guide to see if you and your family are prepared. If you are faced with an oncoming storm, here are some quick tips to help you get ready:

  • Prepare an emergency kit for you and your family
  • Identify shelter locations away from home to stay during the storm
  • Follow the FEMA guidelines in the event of an evacuation
  • Install a generator in case of emergencies
  • Consider Flood insurance protection, which is the only way to protect your home and business from flood damage
If you are a recent survivor of a disaster, Benefits.gov wants to share the following benefit programs that may be helpful to you, or someone you know:

  • Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts: The 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.
  • FEMA Housing Portal: The portal consolidates rental resources to help individuals and families find available rental units in their area.
  • Disaster Relief and Emergency Relief Program: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides tax counseling and assistance to taxpayers whose property has been damaged or lost in a Federally declared disaster area.
To expand your search for assistance beyond the programs mentioned here, you can visit the Benefits.gov and try our Benefit Finder by clicking the "Start Benefit Finder" on the homepage. You can also visit FEMA's DisasterAssistance.gov, where you can locate even more disaster related forms of assistance based on your current situation.