FEMA Is Almost out of Disaster Funds

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced this week that it is nearly out of disaster relief funds. This news could not have come at a worse time as numerous states look for assistance in their recovery from Hurricane Irene as well as other disasters that hit earlier this year.

FEMA’s Fund Has Dropped Below $800 Million

Craig Fugate announced on this week that FEMA’s Federal Disaster Relief Fund–the money that is used to help communities and individuals affected by disasters–is down to less than $800 million. While this may seem like a lot of money, according to agency, it’s not much at all.

Just this week, Hurricane Irene hit several states, resulting in damage that some experts say could top $10 billion.

With not even $1 trillion in reserves to pay for the damage, the agency says it is now only authorized to pay for emergency repairs, such as long-term projects that include rebuilding roads, schools and other damaged structures in areas that were severely affected by natural disasters like Joplin, Mo.

Irene Victims May Not Receive Help until Later This Year

According to FEMA, the individuals who were eligible for assistance from storms this year that occurred prior to Hurricane Irene will continue to receive their checks. But individuals affected by Hurricane Irene may have to wait as the agency plans to put some spending on hold.

Fugate said in a recent CNN Money article that he hopes that funding will be expanded when Congress is able to appropriate additional funds for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

In the meantime, he said, “What we’ve been working on will take care of quite a few folks.” But unfortunately, it looks as though individuals affected by the storm may have to take a look at their homeowners insurance policy–or possibly their flood insurance policy, if they have one–to see how their insurer can help pay for any damage.