In late July, a devastating flash flood hit several counties in eastern Kentucky, where the death toll rose to 37 and more than 1,400 Kentuckians needed rescuing from first responders. According to WCSC, the National Guard rescued 400 people by helicopter, and nearly 13,000 utility customers in Kentucky were left without power. Adding to the aftermath of the record rainfall and flooding were the losses of drinking water and housing. Combine this with the compounding impact of inflation and what you get is a recipe of many displaced Kentuckians who desperately need quick and helpful disaster assistance.
Federal disaster assistance to help with temporary housing, home repair, and unemployment
Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that additional disaster assistance was approved for Kentucky flooding recovery. Under President Biden's order, according to the FEMA release, "federal funds for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, is increased to 100% of the total cost for a 30-day period."
For individual assistance, people in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, and Whitley counties can apply for federal disaster assistance by going to disasterassistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362, or by using the FEMA mobile app. FEMA's assistance may include help to pay for temporary housing, basic home repairs or other disaster-related needs, such as childcare, transportation and medical, funeral, or dental expenses.
To apply for FEMA assistance you will need:
- A current phone number
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
- Your Social Security number
- A general list of damage and losses
- Banking information if you choose direct deposit
- If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.
Disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) was also approved by FEMA for people living in those same counties. With an application deadline of September 6, all DUA claims must be submitted online through the Kentucky Career Center website or by phone at 502-875-0442.
Additional local resources to help older adults impacted by the flooding in Kentucky
Older adults who have been affected may need assistance to access resources that are targeted to their needs—such as using Medicare when displaced, applying for benefits programs, including disaster assistance, or getting long-term nutrition support. Below are local resources to support flood victims, including local Kentucky Benefits Enrollment Centers.
211 is a free, confidential referral and information line that can help you find local resources. Your local 211 agency has the most up-to-date information about local help that may be available to you.
Temporary housing/sheltering while displaced
The Red Cross Shelter Finder will help you locate open shelters near you if you have been forced to evacuate your home.
Flood resources from the Kentucky Office of the Governor
Kentucky’s state website provides a running list of resources available for those impacted by the flooding in eastern Kentucky. Resources shared on the governor's site include caregiver support services, food assistance, cooling centers, and water and food distribution sites.
Benefits Enrollment Centers
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) supports two Kentucky Benefits Enrollment Centers that can help those in need:
How can a Benefits Enrollment Center help me?
Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs) are community organizations that help Medicare members with low income and people with disabilities find and enroll in all the benefits programs that they qualify for. Benefits Enrollment Center services are free and 100% private. No one will try to sell you anything or steer you toward a certain program.
If you think you may qualify for important benefits, reach out to Kentucky BEC that's closest to you and make an appointment to get help applying.