Tag Archives: fema

California – Fire victims can apply for tax relief and FEMA grants

Financial help is coming for California fire victims in the form of income- and property-tax relief for individuals and businesses in most affected counties and federal grants and loans for those in Sonoma, Napa, Butte, Lake, Mendocino and Yuba counties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency made “individual assistance” available to people and businesses in Sonoma County starting Thursday and those in Napa County starting Friday. FEMA added Butte, Lake, Mendocino and Yuba counties to the list Saturday.

Previously, FEMA had only made funds available in seven North Bay counties for “public assistance” such as debris removal and emergency services. On Friday, it added public assistance for Solano County and Orange County in Southern California, which is also fighting wildfires.

In the designated counties, homeowners, renters and businesses can now apply for grants (which don’t have to be repaid) or low-interest loans to cover uninsured fire-related expenses such as temporary housing; funeral and emergency medical costs; replacing personal property, including cars; and repairing and replacing homes and buildings.

FEMA officials encouraged all fire victims to file an insurance claim as soon as possible, but also apply for FEMA assistance where available, because it could cover uninsured expenses or costs that exceed their coverage limits.

read more at: http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Where-fire-victims-can-apply-for-tax-relief-and-12276770.php  

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Federal Spending Bill Delays Some Flood Insurance Rate Increases

Homeowners worried that new federal flood maps will send their flood insurance premiums skyrocketing would get some short-term relief under a provision tucked into a massive government-wide funding bill.

But other changes to the federal flood insurance program, including higher premiums on businesses, vacation homes and frequently flooded properties will remain in place, as well as a new rule blocking homeowners from passing insurance subsidies on to the people who buy their homes.

How will this affect the value of your home?  Contact the real estate appraisers at www.scappraisals.com; they have certified FEMA inspectors on staff.

The provision is authored by Louisiana lawmakers and political rivals – Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu and GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy – and comes as the Senate is poised to debate much broader relief to homeowners facing higher premiums. Cassidy is running for the GOP nod to take on Landrieu this year.

The move comes as the government is beginning to implement a significant overhaul of the much-criticized program. That overhaul passed in 2012 with sweeping support from both liberals and tea party conservatives but has caused a panic in places like Staten Island, N.Y., and the New Jersey coast and in flood-prone areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, where higher rates threaten to push some people out of their homes.

The practical effect of the Cassidy-Landrieu provision is relatively limited and can be added to the spending bill only because it does not increase the budget deficit. It blocks the Federal Emergency Management Agency from increasing premiums on people whose homes are not currently considered to be in a flood zone but are deemed to be flood prone under new FEMA maps.

FEMA has already agreed to delay the higher premiums in response to criticism that the new flood maps didn’t take into account longstanding locally built levees and other flood mitigation steps and that the premium increases are in many cases unaffordable.

read more at: http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2014/01/16/242979.htm

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Cost of Flood Insurance Rises

MIAMI — Sharp increases in federal flood insurance rates are distressing coastal homeowners from Hawaii to New England and are starting to hurt property values and housing sales in areas just beginning to recover from the recession, according to residents and legislators.

In recent weeks, the hefty flood insurance rate increases brought about by a 2012 law have stoked widespread alarm and uncertainty, prompting rallies, petitions and concern among state governors. Mississippi has sued the federal government to try to block the law. The issue has even garnered the attention of lawmakers, otherwise mired in the acrimonious government shutdown. A bipartisan group of senators and House members from Gulf Coast states are pressing for significant adjustments to the law once the Capitol returns to normal.

Have questions about FEMA?  Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisals.com; their appraisers are certified FEMA inspectors.

The law, officially known as the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, is being rolled out in stages, with a major part having gone into effect on Oct 1. It removes subsidies that keep federal flood insurance premiums artificially low for more than a million policy holders around the country — a discount that was applied to properties that existed before the drawing of flood insurance rate maps.

An estimated 20 percent of the property owners with federal flood insurance received these subsidies as the new law went into effect, and their premiums will rise, in some cases precipitously, either now, over the next several years or whenever they sell their properties. The exact amount of the increase depends on the home’s elevation above flood level.

Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us/cost-of-flood-insurance-rises-along-with-worries.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=realestate&adxnnlx=1381844596-C0CoHaVCbZn+kKpdUYcOvQ

Disclaimer: for information and entertainment purposes only