Individual Assistance Overview
The mission of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s (DHS&EM) Individual and Family Grant (IFG) Program is to provide financial assistance to individuals or families whose primary residence, primary mode of transportation, essential personal property and medical/funeral/dental needs, created as a direct result of a declared disaster and for which other assistance is either unavailable or inadequate.
The State of Alaska is one of a few states in the U.S. to have their own Individual Assistance Program. This program is authorized under Alaska Statue 26.23 and is administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The Individual Assistance (IA) Program includes Individual Family Grants (IFG) and Temporary Housing (TH) Assistance. IA provides grants and services to assist individuals and families in the declared disaster area with serious losses not covered by their insurance or other means.
The IA Program is only enacted after the Governor of the State of Alaska declares a disaster in a specific area. The State of Alaska may provide assistance only after local government leaders make a formal disaster assistance request. If you would like to report a natural disaster in your area or would like to know if the Governor has declared a disaster in your area, contact your local government leaders.
IA Individual Family Grants (IFG)
The IFG program is intended to provide short term and long term assistance to families whose homes or property have been damaged, but whose home is still habitable.
- Primary Residence owner occupied repairs
- Essential Personal Property
- Primary Transportation
- Disaster related Medical, Dental, Funeral expenses
IA Temporary Housing Assistance (TH)
The Temporary Housing Program is intended to provide timely direct temporary housing assistance to individuals or families whose housing has been so badly damaged or destroyed by a disaster that the home is not habitable and for which other assistance is either unavailable or inadequate.
- Repair Assistance for Owner Occupied Homes
- Rental Assistance up to 18 months for homeowners and up to 3 months for renters
- How do I apply for Disaster Assistance?
You must apply for Individual Assistance (IA) within 60 days of the disaster declaration date. There are several ways to apply:
- At a Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) near you. DAC’s are temporary locations where State Emergency Management personnel will be staged to assist disaster victims. These locations will be announced through various forms of media.
- If going to a DAC is not possible, you can call the hotline toll free at 1-800-478-2337.
- If you have access to the internet, you can apply online at www.ready.alaska.gov
- What documentation will I be asked for?
To complete your application you will need to provide:
- Your name and contact information such as: phone number and email address, the physical/street address of the damage to your property and your current mailing address.
- A copy of your photo ID such as driver’s license, ID card, etc…
- Your insurance declaration and exclusion (what is covered and what is NOT covered) information if the damaged property is insured.
- A list and description of the damages including, but not limited to: size of the home, number of occupants, year/make/model/VIN of the vehicle and essential personal property losses.
- Current living situation, for example: Were you living in the damaged home? Are you living in the damaged home now? If not, where are you living and do you need temporary housing assistance?
- You will be required to provide proof of residence at the damaged address at the time of the disaster. This proof could be a utility bill, a photo ID, a voter registration card or another form of verification. The documentation must contain the physical address and be dated during the declared disaster. Note: An undated document or a document showing Lot and Block numbers will not suffice.
- What date(s) did the damage occur?
- You will be given a Substitute form W-9 and it must be completed and returned before payment can be made.
- If you are in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) you will be required to sign a document certifying that you will obtain and/or maintain Flood Insurance through the NFIP. To find out if you are in a SFHA visit this link and enter your physical address: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart
- You will be asked to provide estimates for repair/replacement of your damaged property. Repair estimates to you primary residence must be completed by a licensed contractor and submitted to DHS&EM.
- If I disagree with DHS&EM’s decision on my application, how do I appeal?
See “Appeal Process”
- How do I know if I’m in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
Visit: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart and enter your address.
- What can an Individual and Family Grant be used for?
If you are found eligible for an Individual and Family Grant it will come with specific directions regarding what it can be used for. In general, an Individual and Family Grant may be awarded to you to help you repair or replace disaster-related damages to your primary owner-occupied residence essential personal property, and/or, primary transportation. The grant may also be made available to assist you with disaster-related medical, dental or funeral expenses.
- How will I know if the Governor declares a disaster in my area?
Listen to local radio, television and other media for announcements that a disaster declaration has been made. Ask local government officials what kind of disaster assistance is available. If you have damages or losses call the Disaster Assistance Hotline or visit a Disaster Assistance Center.
- How will I know if Individual and Family Assistance grants are available?
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management works closely with local governments and media to announce that the Individual and Family Assistance Program is available. Listen to local and regional radio and television, check for announcements on local bulletin boards and at local government offices, and talk with your local government officials and neighbors.
- How do I apply for the State of Alaska Individual Assistance Program?
Applications are taken by telephone over a Disaster Assistance Hotline or in affected communities at a Disaster Assistance Center. Disaster Assistance Hotlines are toll free telephone numbers staffed by Disaster Assistance Officers. Because disaster can be widespread and we need to help as many victims as possible, please apply as soon as possible using the application type provided for your community. Do not assume another type of application process will be available.
- How much time do I have to apply for State of Alaska Individual Assistance Program?
Applications will be accepted for 60 days following the date of the disaster declaration. The deadline will be written on the Disaster Assistance Hotline announcement or the announcement for the Disaster Assistance Center. The deadline and reminders will be announced over the media.
- What if I do not apply before the deadline?
You will likely be denied assistance.
- What do I bring to the Disaster Assistance Center?
Do not hesitate to go to the Disaster Assistance Center because you do not have information you think or are told will be required. This will be your opportunity to begin the recovery process. If you have the following items it is best to bring them:
- Names and ages of all residents of household
- Photo identification
- Social Security Number
- Telephone numbers where you can be contacted
- Your address during the disaster and an address where you can be reached now
- Proof of ownership for your primary residence if you have damages to your home
- Photos of damages
- Proof of ownership for transportation items
- Serial numbers from transportation items
- Residency verification (ie rental agreement, utility bill, or voters registration card)
- What if I cannot determine if my damages are in a declared disaster area?
The disaster area delineations can be difficult to determine so please contact the Disaster Assistance Hotline or visit a Disaster Assistance Center and let our Disaster Assistance staff determine whether your primary residence is included in the disaster declaration.
- What do I do in the meantime?
Write down damages you have. Take photos if possible and be ready to share this information with local, state and federal disaster workers collecting damage information. If you have been impacted by a disaster and do not know if your area is within a declared disaster area continue to monitor media and other information and call the Disaster Assistance Hotline or visit local Disaster Assistance Centers if they are set up in your area and apply for the Individual Assistance Program.
An applicant has the right to formally appeal any decision made by the Division regarding assistance denials and awards, including inspections and eligibility determinations. An applicant must appeal the decision of the Division in writing within 60 days of their award/denial notification letter. In requesting an appeal, the applicant should state the reasons why he/she believes the Division’s decision is incorrect, and provide any additional information he/she may have relating to the application. After receiving the appeal request the IA Officer will render a decision and provide to the Director or designee for a final decision. This final decision will be sent to the applicant with no further appeal rights. The final determination and supporting material will be documented and filed in the applicant's folder as a permanent part of that case.
- “Adequate, alternate housing” means housing that accommodates the needs of the occupants, is within the normal commuting patterns of the area or is within reasonable commuting distance of work, school, or agricultural activities that provide over 50% of the household income; and is within the financial ability of the occupant.
- "Administrative Plan" means this document developed by the State of Alaska.
- “Appeal Authority" means the Director, or his designee, who makes the final decision on appealed case determinations. The Director may appoint an appeal officer to perform this function on his behalf.
- “Appeal by Applicant" means a formal request, in writing, from an applicant or his/her representative that requires a decision by the Appeal Authority.
- “Application Taker/Registrar" means the Temporary Housing Program staff member who interviews registrants and fills out applications for those people who are potentially eligible for assistance.
- “Assistance from other means" means assistance, including monetary, or in-kind contributions from other governmental programs, insurance, voluntary or charitable organizations, or from any source other than the personal resources of the individual or family.
- “Computer based online application" means application that is available in the electronic form on State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website, to be completed by the applicant.
- “Disaster Emergency" means a condition proclaimed to exist by the Governor if he/she finds that a disaster has occurred or that such an occurrence is imminent or threatening.
- “Declared Disaster Area” means the disaster area as described in a disaster declaration.
- “Dependent” means a person who is normally claimed as a dependent on the federal income tax return of another person, according to 26 USC 151-153 (Internal Revenue Code); or the minor children of a couple not living together, if the children live in the affected residence with the parent who does not actually claim them on that parent’s federal income tax return.
- “DHS&EM” means Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
- "Essential Living Area" means the area of residence essential to normal living, e.g. kitchen, one bathroom, dining area, living room, entrances and exits and essential sleeping areas. It does not include family rooms, guestrooms, garages or other non-essential areas.
- "Family" means a social unit living together and composed of (1) legally married individuals or those couples jointly forming a household unit and their dependents; or (2) a single person and his or her dependents or; (3) persons that jointly own the residence and their dependents.
- “Habitable” means adequate for living, fit to be occupied or live in.
- “Inaccessible” means as a result of the incident, the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to gain entry to their pre-disaster residence due to the disruption, destruction, of access routes or other impediments to access, or restrictions placed on movement by a responsible official due to continued health, safety, or security problems.
- "Incident Period" means the length of time from the onset of the disaster during which disaster assistance is available.
- "Individual" means a person who is not a member of a family, as previously defined. Renters who live together are individuals. When one individual owns real property, and another lives there in a tenant type relationship (whether or not rent is charged), the owner may file one temporary housing application; and the other individual may file a separate temporary housing application.
- “Individual Assistance Officer” is a DHS&EM employee assigned to perform case work and grant management duties required when implementing the Temporary Housing Program and IFG Program. This person will work one on one with applicants throughout the process.
- "Individual Assistance Branch Chief” means the State official assigned the management responsibility for the oversight of the Temporary Housing Program and IFG Program.
- "Necessary expense" means the cost of an item or service essential to an individual or family to prevent, mitigate, or overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury, or adverse condition.
- "Owner-occupied" means the residence which is occupied by the legal owner; by a person who does not hold formal title to the residence but is responsible for payment of taxes, maintenance of the residence, and pays no rent; or by a person who has lifetime occupancy rights in the residence with formal title vested in another.
- "Ownership" may be determined by legal title, tax statements, etc. Where an applicant does not have legal proof of ownership, a State, commonwealth or local government affidavit may be allowed. It must explain that, under applicable State law, the applicant does legally own the residence and explain the basis for this conclusion. If the affidavit certifies this to be true, and one form of proof of occupancy is presented, the ownership criteria are deemed to be met.
- "Primary Residence" means a residence where the owner-occupant lives for more than six (6) months a year, or to which he has recently occupied or has acquired recently to move into for the same purpose. Recreational, vacation or primary income-producing property does not qualify as a primary residence. Normally, a primary residence is reasonably close to the applicant's place of work or business.
- "Quality Assurance" means the process by which the State confirms and documents by upfront damage verifications to ensure the damages are a result of the declared disaster and the amount of money and time needed to return the applicant to a safe and livable condition.
- “Safe” means secure from disaster related hazards or threats to occupants.
- “Sanitary” means free from disaster related health hazards.
- "Serious need" means the requirement for an item or service essential to an individual or family to prevent, mitigate, or overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury, or adverse condition.
- "Temporary Housing" is a State administered program which provides financial assistance to meet disaster related inhabitability of a primary residence, or other disaster related displacement combined with a lack of adequate insurance coverage.