Disaster Recovery Being Affected by COVID-19 Outbreak
When President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, he invoked authority across governmental departments and agencies to provide financial support at the state and local level. The process, however, is nothing if not complicated. Nevertheless, understanding the guiding facts can help. If you’ve suffered damages caused by a natural disaster such as Hurricane Michael, you need an experienced Panama City Insurance Claims attorney on your side.
The Stafford Act
Along with the declaration of the national emergency, the president issued an emergency declaration, which works in tandem with the Stafford Act to assist state and local governments with their health and safety efforts in response to the COVID emergency. The Stafford Act works as the main arm of authority for FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), and as such, supplies broad financial support to first responders and to the affected communities themselves when need exceeds resources at the state and federal level – operational support is also an option.
The COVID-19 Emergency
Under the umbrella of the COVID-19 National Emergency, FEMA can make reimbursements at the state and local level for those necessary protective measures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or other federal agencies have not already provided. While the reimbursement rate is the standard 75 percent, the president has the power to increase this rate to 100 percent upon request.
Emergency Funding for Emergencies and Disasters
The funding for the Stafford Act is provided primarily by the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which is funded by Congress on an annual basis to cover damages caused by emergencies and disasters that are declared as such by the president. It’s important to recognize, however, that a major disaster and a national emergency are two different things. The following apply:
- Major disasters are natural catastrophes, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, and they not only receive the largest percentage of the DRF’s available funds but also cover a broader range of reimbursable losses.
- Emergencies, on the other hand, are generally limited to $5 million unless the president expands the amount through Congress. Those reimbursable costs generally covered in national emergencies include emergency measures of protection such as the cost of sending in the National Guard and of activating State Emergency Operations Centers.
The fact is that the available funds are not without limits, and it will almost certainly be necessary to obtain additional funding via congress in order to keep up with the health and safety demands of the COVID pandemic.
If You’ve Suffered a Loss as a Result of a Natural Disaster, an Experienced Panama City Insurance Claims Attorney Can Help
If your home and/or other property was damaged by Hurricane Michael, the dedicated Panama City insurance claims attorneys at Ged Lawyers, LLP, are committed to fighting for the disaster relief to which you are entitled and that you need to fully recover on your losses. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 850-684-4000 for more information today.