Helena, MT -- The first checks from the Individual and Family Grant Program that helps pay the costs of disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other disaster assistance programs have been sent to victims of the Montana wildfires.
Five checks, totaling $42,935, were mailed out this week. Three of the checks are written for the maximum allowable grant of $13,900 per applicant. Of the five checks, three are for real and personal property losses, one covers medical expenses incurred as a result of the wildfires but not covered by insurance, and one is for personal property loss.
"We're glad this program is there for those people whose serious unmet needs qualify them for this program," said State Coordinating Officer Jim Greene. "These grants were designed specifically to help in such cases."
Grants may be used to cover disaster-related expenses such as essential home repairs, replacement of personal property, clothing, household items, furnishings and appliances, transportation, or equipment rental. They may also be used for items such as moving and storage costs, replacement of wood used for heating purposes, and medical and dental bills.
The state-administered grants, comprised of a 75 percent federal/25 percent state share, are part of the overall disaster assistance effort triggered by a presidential disaster declaration. The grants do not have to be repaid, but grant recipients must keep their receipts to show proper use of the funds.
In most cases, grants are only available if an applicant has been denied a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Applicants who are issued an SBA loan application must complete the form. If the SBA determines that an applicant cannot afford a disaster loan, they will then be considered for the Individual and Family Grant program.