KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- As many residents of flood-ravaged Kansas are learning, the Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program provides federal and state aid for individuals and families with serious disaster-related needs who have no other recourse. So far, 190 Kansans have received $1,052,356 for the IFG program due to the severe storms and floods that occurred between October 30 and November 15, 1998.
"The IFG program rescues those least able to recover from the effects of a disaster," said Carol Coleman, federal coordinating officer. "It's a safety net for folks who cannot qualify for Small Business Administration disaster loans and whose needs can not be met by other government programs, insurance or the services of volunteer agencies."
The program is administered by the state. Grants vary according to need and are given to help survivors begin to recover, not fully restore them to pre-disaster condition. The maximum grant is $13,600, but few grants are for the maximum. The average grant for this disaster is less than half that. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pays 75 percent of IFG and the state makes up the balance.
The money does not have to be repaid and it is tax-free, but there are conditions attached. It is to be spent on disaster related losses such as home repair, replacement of essential lost items, transportation and medical or dental expenses. Recipients usually are required to apply for U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans first.
Information on federal disaster assistance programs is available by calling the FEMA toll-free registration number, 1-800-462-9029 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY for the hearing- or speech-impaired. Lines are currently open daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (CST), Monday through Friday.