How to apply for FEMA aid and other financial help after Iowa derecho

People in Linn County can apply for federal aid, but there's more than just federal aid available

Financial help is available to people affected by the Aug. 10 derecho, the powerful windstorm that devastated parts of Iowa, particularly the Cedar Rapids area.

The 11 counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance are:†Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama.

Here are details on financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state and other organizations. The state also has set up a website with information:†

Updated Sept. 22, 2020

FEMA assistance for individuals and homeowners

Those who suffered losses in Linn County and 10 other counties can†apply for assistance through FEMA’s Individual and Households Program. It provides financial assistance for homeowners and individuals to help with disaster-related recovery needs, such as grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured personal property losses and medical expenses caused by the disaster. The federal aid is requested for other counties but has not yet been approved. The deadline to†register is Oct. 19.

To apply:

Call 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for TTY users. Users of 711 or Video Relay Service may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Iowa time seven days a week, for now.

Or register online at

Or visit a disaster recovery center in Cedar Rapids†(details below).

You’ll need this information to complete your registration:


Social Security Number (SSN) OR the SSN of a minor child in the household who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien

Annual household income

Contact information: Phone number, mailing address, email address*, and damaged home address (*You must provide an email address if you want to review your registration status online. If you do not provide an email address, you will be required to contact FEMA for any updates to your registration.)

Insurance Information (coverage, insurance company name, etc.)

Bank account information (if you are eligible to receive financial assistance, the money can be deposited in your account)

FEMA storm-assistance center open in Cedar Rapids till Sept. 26

The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Linn County will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, but residents seeking aid have until Oct. 19 to†apply for assistance.

FEMA opened a drive-thru disaster recovery center in Linn County on Wednesday, Sept. 2, where residents can get more information and†submit documents for their disaster assistance application.†The†center will not be able to provide assistance for lost food.

Where: Parking lot between Cedar Rapids Kernels Stadium and Kingston Stadium at 950 Rockford Rd. SW, Cedar Rapids. Visitors are asked to enter the parking lot from the corner of Veterans Memorial Drive and Kurt Warner Way.

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The center will be closed Monday†for Labor Day.


It is highly recommended residents register online or by phone before visiting the site. Options to register are:

Download the FEMA mobile app†for smartphones

†Call†1-800-621-3362†between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. Multilingual operators are available.

•†For 711 or Video Relay Service, applicants can call†1-800-621-3362, or for†800-462-7585†for TTY services.

Applicants and FEMA personnel must wear face masks and applicants must remain in their cars as they hand their documents to FEMA personnel.†

FEMA reimbursement for lodging expenses

Iowans who have registered with FEMA may also be eligible for reimbursement if they paid out-of-pocket expenses for temporary lodging because their primary residences sustained damage†during the Aug. 10†derecho.†

Temporary lodging includes hotels, motels, or other short-term lodging while an applicant is displaced from his or her primary residence.

Lodging expenses may be eligible for reimbursement if an applicant:

†Registers with FEMA.

†Passes identity verification.


†Verifies occupancy in a primary residence within a designated county.

†Verifies that the primary residence is uninhabitable or inaccessible.

†Incurs disaster-related temporary lodging expenses.

†Does not have insurance that would cover lodging.

†Did not receive lodging assistance during the same time frame.

Reimbursement funds are available for eligible applicants under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program.

Applicants†approved for lodging reimbursement must submit hotel/motel receipts that show a zero balance to FEMA to receive payment. Reimbursement will not cover incidental costs such as phone calls, laundry, internet, food, movies or pet care.

Red Cross financial aid for storm victims

Through the American Red Cross, qualified households are eligible for $450 to support emergency needs. Funds can help families replace clothes or food, offset transportation costs or support other immediate needs.

All Red Cross services, including financial assistance, are free and available to whoever needs it, regardless of citizenship or residency status, nationality, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

To learn about other resources that may be available to assist households as a result of Iowa Derecho, call 2-1-1 or visit

To apply:


Heads of household should to call 1-800-REDCROSS, and select prompt 4. The financial assistance application requires a valid text-enabled phone number and/or an email address for processing.

You’ll need this information to complete your registration:

Documentation to validate identity, which can include U.S. or foreign passport, government issued driver’s license or ID, permanent resident card or consular identification.

Documents to validate proof of residence, which can include a valid government issued driver’s license or ID, a deed, a mortgage statement, a lease or rental agreement on property letterhead signed by landlord, a monthly utility bill or bank statement, or an official document such as mail from a child’s school or vehicle insurance card, dated between July 11, 2020 and Sept. 9, 2020.

Bank account information. Funds will be made available using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

Rental and mortgage assistance

The Iowa Association of Realtors partnered with the National Association of Realtors to provide storm relief with a grant of $250,000. This grant can help with mortgage payment assistance or rental costs due to displacement up to $1,000 per applicant. Deadline to submit an application is Oct. 31.

Some scenarios that would be eligible:

A homeowner with a mortgage that was displaced due to damage of their home.

A homeowner with a mortgage living in their home without power due to the storm damage.


A renter that was displaced due to damage of their apartment building.

To apply:

Visit and fill out the application for disaster relief assistance.

For questions, email derechorelief@iowarealtors or call 1-800-532-1515

You’ll need this information to complete your registration:

Photo identification to show proof or residency (driver’s license or other government form of documentation)

• Copy of mortgage statement, mortgage payment coupon, lease agreement or rent statement

One of the following to show proof of damage: Photos of damage; insurance estimate; copies of written claims, settlement proceeds of claim status reports; copies of repair estimates from contractors.

State assistance, for counties not approved for FEMA aid

FEMA aid for individuals is available for 11 counties†including Linn, but Gov. Kim Reynolds also issued a state disaster proclamation for Audubon, Dallas, Cass, Clarke, Clinton, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Madison, Muscatine, and Washington counties.


Visit††for details on available state aid.

For counties under the state disaster declaration, but where federal aid has not been approved for individuals and homeowners, the proclamation activates:

The Disaster Case Management Program to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. 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 the program; it closes 180 days from the date of the governor’s proclamation. For information on the Disaster Case Management Program, contact your local community action association or visit

The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $43,440 for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and temporary housing expenses. Original receipts are required for reimbursement for expenses related to storm recovery. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.

Assistance for Iowa WIC families for food replacement

The Iowa Department of Public Health will provide assistance for WIC families living in the 16 counties designated under the federal disaster declaration: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama counties.

WIC foods purchased between Aug. 1 and 10 and destroyed or spoiled as the result of storm damage or power outage may be replaced. Any WIC foods purchased after Aug. 10 are not eligible for replacement.

To apply:

WIC families must contact their local WIC agency no later than Aug. 31 to be considered for food replacement.

Visit the IDPH website at for more information on WIC and to find local offices or call 515-281-6650.


Help to replace food for families who receive other food assistance

Households that currently receive food assistance may request replacement of food destroyed because of storm damage, or spoilage as a result of a power outage. Households have until Sept. 17 to complete the form requesting replacement of food loss.

To apply:

Digital submission: Download and complete the application form, then submit a clear image of the form to:

Forms also are available at local Department of Human Services offices and are also available by mail. Completed paper forms can be submitted to local offices in person, by mail or by fax. Use the DHS Office Locator to find the nearest office or call 1-877-347-5678.

Help for farmers

While FEMA aid has not been approved to cover agriculture losses, the USDA has an emergency farm loan program that assists farmers to recover from destroyed grain bins, according to information shared by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office.

Farmers should work closely with their local Farm Service Agencies and crop insurance providers for disaster-related assistance. The Livestock Indemnity Program provides assistance for livestock deaths from adverse weather events. There also is help available for noninsured crops through the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program (NAP). Nursery tree operators and orchard growers may qualify for help through the Tree Assistance Program. The EQIP and Emergency Watershed Protection Program provides disaster-related recovery and conservation assistance. The Risk Management Agency administers the federal crop insurance program. More than 90 percent of Iowa farmers are covered by federal crop insurance. Producers are advised to follow up in writing within 15 days of reporting losses and crop damage to their insurance service provider.

Small Business Administration†loans for business, residential

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Iowa businesses and residents as a result of President Trump’s major disaster declaration. Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

To apply:

†Visit†,†click "Apply Online" and follow the registration process and fill out the†application.

†For questions, call 916-735-1500†or email†


You’ll need this information to complete your registration:


•†IRS Form 4506-T†completed and signed (this allows the SBA to receive a transcript of your tax return)

Complete copies, including all schedules, of the most recent federal income tax returns for the applicant business

Other information that may be necessary is listed here.

Homeowners and renters:

•†IRS Form 4506-T†completed and signed (this allows the SBA to receive a transcript of your tax return)

Disaster loans from local banks, credit unions

Many area banks and credit unions are providing hardship loans for people affected by the storm, some providing relief from payments for 90 days or more or delaying interest payments. For more information, contact your†financial institution or visit†the†website.†Financial institutions†include MidWestOne, GreenState Credit Union, Veridian Credit Union, Hills Bank, Linn Area Credit Union, and many others.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.