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Assistance for Individuals


Logo for the Iowa Department of Human ServicesIowa Individual Assistance Program

When a disaster occurs, the Governor will often issue a Disaster Proclamation in the affected counties. When a Governor's Disaster Proclamation is made in an Iowa county, the Iowa Individual Assistance (IA) Program can be activated at the request of local officials to help those Iowans adversely affected.

Click for more about the Iowa IA Program...


The Iowa IA Program provides up to $5,000 in reimbursements for damage incurred for families whose income is at or below twice the federal poverty level (or, a maximum annual income of $41,560 for a family of three*).


Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and for the expense of temporary housing. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The program is administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS). When the program is activated, information and application instructions are available on the IDHS website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the disaster proclamation to submit a claim.


If a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance is issued for the same event, the state program is automatically canceled as the federal program then goes into effect.


NEW on June 15 - At this time, there is Iowa Individual Assistance available for qualifying residents in the following counties for severe weather beginning June 14 and continuing. Deadline for application is Aug. 2, 2018.

  • Hamilton
  • O'Brien

June 11, 2018 - At this time, there is Iowa Individual Assistance available for qualifying residents in the following counties for severe weather beginning June 7 and continuing. Deadline for application is July 27, 2018.

  • Allamakee
  • Bremer
  • Chickasaw
  • Cerro Gordo
  • Floyd
  • Howard
  • Winneshiek


*Effective Jan. 13, 2018



Federal Individual Assistance ProgramFEMA logo

The federal Individual Assistance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is activated when a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance is made. Generally, affected counties have 60 days from the date the declaration is made to apply for assistance with FEMA.

Click to learn more about the Federal IA Program...


Federal Individual Assistance is made available to homeowners, renters and businesses and can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other aid programs. Individuals may also be eligible for other needs assistance including medical and dental expenses and replacement of essential personal property such as furniture, clothing and some appliances. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may also be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance. Grants do not have to be repaid, but loans from the SBA must be repaid.


Factors considered when the State makes an application for federal Individual Assistance

Under the Stafford Act, the following factors are considered when measuring the severity, magnitude and impact of a disaster and to evaluate the need for assistance to individuals:

  1. Concentration of damage.
  2. Trauma.
  3. Special populations.
  4. Voluntary agency assistance.
  5. Insurance.
  6. Average amount of individual assistance by State. There is no set threshold for recommending Individual Assistance, but the following averages may prove useful to States and voluntary agencies as they develop plans and programs to meet the needs of disaster victims.

Average Amount of Individual Assistance per Disaster
for Medium States (Population of 2-10 million)
from July 1994 to 1999*

Average Population (1990 census data)


Number of Disaster Housing Applications Approved


Number of Homes Estimated with Major Damage or Destroyed


Dollar Amount of Housing Assistance

$4.6 million

Number of Individual and Family Grant Applications Approved


Dollar Amount of Individual and Family Grant Assistance

$2.9 million

Disaster Housing/IFG Combined Assistance

$7.5 million


Click here for a PDF of this portion of the Code of Federal Regulations.


At this time, there are no counties where the federal Individual Assistance program is currently available.



*From the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Chapter 1, Subchapter D, Part 206 (206.48), 10-1-10 edition. The three high and three low disasters, based on Disaster Housing Applications, are not considered in the averages. Number of Damaged/Destroyed Homes is estimated based on the number of owner-occupants who qualify for Eligible Emergency Rental Resources. Data source is FEMA's National Processing Service Centers. Data are only available from July 1994 to the present. Medium Size States (2-10 million population, listed in order of 1990 population): Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Colorado, South Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Minnesota, Maryland, Washington, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan. Puerto Rico.



Photo of a woman with her hand to her head.Crisis Counseling

The Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program is available to Iowans through the Iowa Department of Human Services at 1-800-447-1985. Also, find information online about coping with/recovering from disasters, including brochures for teens and children, older adults, and emergency responders.

Click for more on counseling/disaster recovery services


Project Recovery Iowa helps Iowans impacted by natural disasters. Services are provided by mental health professionals in your area. Visit the Project Recovery Iowa website for more information.


Iowa Disaster Behavioral Response Team (DBHRT) are trained volunteers who can mobilize resources to provide post-disaster mental health services statewide. The goal of Iowa DBHRT is to provide an organized response to individual victims, family members, volunteers, responders, survivors, or the community affected by critical incidents or disasters. Local authorities may request Iowa DBHRT assistance to meet the behavioral health needs of communities in crisis by contacting the HSEMD duty officer at any time by phone at (515) 725-3231 or email.


Visit the DBHRT website.




Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Iowa Workforce Development logoAfter a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance, certain Iowans may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program.

Click to learn more about DUA...


Disaster Unemployment Assistance extends income compensation to self-employed civilians, farm workers, individuals who have worked for only a few weeks, and others who have lost earned income or whose income has been interrupted as a result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States. The benefits cover those usually not entitled to unemployment insurance. Claims are handled by Iowa Workforce Development.


In addition to assistance filing a DUA claim, Iowa Workforce Development Centers offer reemployment services, including testing, counseling and placement. Job search and career information also is available IWD's website.


At this time, there is no Disaster Unemployment Assistance available for Iowans.