Clinton County Administration building

Clinton County has been granted FEMA individual assistance — after earlier being denied — for damage caused by the Aug. 10 derecho.

Impacted residents can apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362, 1-800-462-7585 for TTY, or at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Clinton County Emergency Management Coordinator Chance Kness encouraged everyone who needs the assistance to call the phone number. Kness said it is his understanding that if someone indicates in the online form that they have insurance, they automatically receive a rejection letter stating they are not eligible because they have insurance.

“If you go to the phone process, you can get past that step and you get some more action there,” Kness said. “If you do have insurance, we still encourage you to apply for assistance because eventually you might find out that your insurance wasn’t covering the full damages.”

The deadline to apply was originally Oct. 19, but FEMA announced last week that it was extending that deadline to Nov. 2 

Kness noted this is a short window because the process has been going on for a while in other parts of the state. Clinton County was not a part of the original group of approved counties.

“The deadline for those counties that have had it for weeks now is also our deadline currently,” Kness said. 

The Individual Assistance Program provides disaster-affected homeowners and renters with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses, and legal services. Kness said the assistance is primarily for individuals who were forced to leave their home or had home damage. This includes rental assistance if it was a rented residence or assistance with repairing the home, Kness said.

“Thank you for the update and thank you for continued effort to get that application reassessed and get our residents eligible for that FEMA assistance,” Clinton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Srp said. “I know it was a lot of additional work, but we do appreciate it. I know the residents appreciate it, too. There’s a lot of need out there.”

Kness stressed there was a lot of time and effort put in by the county assessor to make the effort possible as well.

Other counties that were previously approved for Individual Assistance for the August derecho are Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama.

John Rohlf is a Clinton Herald staff writer.