Common Legal and Benefits Issues After a Disaster Like Flooding

I have flood-related problems. We're here to help! 1-800-889-2047. Press option 4.

Updated 2/14/24

On this page we list benefits, recovery programs and common legal problems that can come up after a flooding disaster in Vermont with links to information and help.

If you live in Vermont, contact us if you need help or have a question. If your problem is due to the July 2023 flooding disaster, call 1-800-889-2047 and press option 4 for our flood-related hotline. Also read the helpful information below.

The information below is in regards to the summer 2023 flooding event, which was declared a federal disaster.

Deadlines to note

  • Applying for FEMA or a SBA loan (for individuals) – The deadline was October 31, but you may still be able to apply if you have a disability or have a good reason for missing the deadline. Contact us!
  • 60 days — Appeal any FEMA decision within 60 days of the date on the decision letter. These days, most people appeal decisions from FEMA to get a better award. It’s almost expected. If you have questions, contact us!

Events

Flood-related pages on VTLawHelp.org


Graphic says to contact us with disaster unemployment problems. Text description follows image.
Did you apply for unemployment because of the flood? Have you not gotten it yet? Or were you denied? Contact us at 1-800-889-2047 and press option 4. We may be able to help. More on Disaster Unemployment.

Graphic says to contact us if your are a homeowner who needs more money due to flood damage. Text description follows image.
Are you a homeowner who needs more financial help after the July 2023 flood? You may be eligible for a USDA Rural Development grant. Very-low-income homeowners in certain counties may be able to get a grant of up to $40,675 to repair their flood-damaged home. This is money that does not need to be paid back. If you have questions about how to apply for a USDA Rural Development grant, contact us at 1-800-889-2047 and press option 4.

Got a decision from FEMA? Need more money to cover your needs? Full text description follows the image.

Got a decision from FEMA that you don't understand or don't agree with? Got less money than you need? These days, most people appeal decisions from FEMA to get a better award. It’s almost expected. Appeal any FEMA decision within 60 days. Get a sample letter and contact us for advice. Call 1-800-889-2047 and press option 4.

These are reasons why you should appeal:

  • You got some money from FEMA, but it’s not enough to cover your needs.
  • FEMA denied your request for help.
  • FEMA said you were only eligible for a loan from SBA.
  • You got some money from FEMA, but now you have new information that shows you need more help.

Graphic shows how to get money to fix home or replace stuff. Text description follows image.
Flooded? Get money to fix your home or replace your stuff. If you have insurance, submit a claim. Also apply to FEMA. Appeal any FEMA decision within 60 days. Apply for local grants and relief funds and other programs. If you are filing a 2022 or 2023 tax return, claim losses not covered by insurance, FEMA or grants.

Legal aid and legal services

Free walk-in Flood Legal Assistance ClinicsFlood assistance clinic

  • Hardwick on March 14 at the Hardwick Memorial Building, 2 - 6 p.m.
  • Barre on April 11 at the Aldrich Public Library from 2 - 5:45 p.m.
  • More events are being scheduled!

Legal Services Vermont and the Entrepreneurial Legal Lab at Vermont Law and Graduate School, are working together to help Vermonters affected by the July 2023 floods. At these clinics, volunteers will:

  • provide information
  • answer questions
  • help file FEMA or Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) or Small Business Administration (SBA) appeals and late applications (if applicable with good reason or a reasonable accommodation for a disability), and
  • help with other paperwork (such as communications with a landlord or insurance claims).

Bring any paperwork that might help you complete a FEMA claim or appeal, including pictures, receipts, insurance information, household and income information, and additional notes about damages, losses, and impacts from flooding. This event will provide legal information, advice and limited assistance. For more information, contact nakilloran@vermontlaw.edu or ejohnson@legalservicesvt.org.

Free weekly Flood Legal Consultation Clinics in BerlinFlood legal consultation

Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid lawyers are available by appointment on Wednesdays in Berlin. The location is the Hope Coalition, a Long-Term Recovery Group. If you have a legal issue related to the July 2023 flooding, schedule an appointment online.

More legal info and help

Need help? Contact us!

We have new staff members on board who are dedicated to helping Vermonters impacted by flooding this summer.

We can help with:

  • applying to FEMA
  • appealing FEMA decisions
  • dealing with insurance problems
  • applying for SBA loans for individuals
  • accessing Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
  • understanding your rights as a tenant, and
  • exploring other sources of funding.

To get help, call 1-800-889-2047 and press option 4 for our flood-related hotline.

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Updated: Feb 14, 2024