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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... UPDATED July 23, 2019


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 a county for the same event, the State program is automatically canceled for that county, as the federal program then goes into effect. The federal program does not have an income restriction like the Iowa Individual Assistance Program.


Iowa Disaster Case Management Program

Iowa Community Action Association logoThe Iowa Disaster Case Management Program is designed to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. The program is activated automatically when the Iowa Individual Assistance program is activated with a governor's disaster proclamation. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice and referral to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program.

Click for more about Disaster Case Management...


Iowans are eligible for Disaster Case Management as soon as the Iowa Individual Assistance program is activated for the county where they reside. The program closes 180 days from the date of the governor's proclamation. The program is administered by Iowa Community Action Association member agencies. For additional information on the Disaster Case Management Program, contact your local community action association or visit


In addition to the counties where Iowa Individual Assistance is currently available (see tab above), residents in the following counties are still eligible for Disaster Case Management, though the time frame to apply for Iowa Individual Assistance has passed.



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...UPDATED July 23, 2019

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.


Presidential Disaster Declaration DR-4421

The following counties were issued a federal disaster declaration for Individual Assistance: Fremont, Harrison, Louisa, Mills, Monona, Muscatine, Pottawattamie, Scott, Shelby, and Woodbury.


Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas registered online at, or called 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY. The toll-free telephone numbers operated from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time), seven days a week. The deadline for applying was July 16, 2019.


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.



*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


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... UPDATED MARCH 25, 2019


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. To access the Disaster Unemployment Assistance packet, visit the IWD website.


As a result of President Trump's Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for public and individual assistance for residents of Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Woodbury counties in Iowa, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is now available in those counties.


Iowa Workforce Development will hold public events to assist individuals in filing the claims and those dates and locations will be announced shortly. In the meantime, if you have questions, contact them at 1-866-239-0843 for assistance.


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.