Kentucky Disaster Declaration News

KY counties Designated as Drought Disaster Areas

FRANKFORT, KY (8/9/12) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced more Kentucky counties have been classified as drought disaster areas by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.   In a letter to the Governor, Sec. Vilsack declared that Breckinridge and Grayson counties are primary disaster areas, because each has suffered drought intensity of either D2 (severe) for at least eight consecutive weeks or D3 (extreme) at any point during the growing season. Both counties were previously designated as contiguous disaster areas.

Seven other counties are named as contiguous disaster areas: Butler, Edmonson, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Meade, and Ohio.  After a similar declaration last month, Kentucky now has 28 counties as primary disaster areas due to drought.

“The drought’s grip on our state is not weakening, and that jeopardizes not only crops and livestock, but the very livelihood of our farm families,” said Gov. Beshear. “We remain in close contact with Agriculture Commissioner James Comer as well as our state and federal partners, particularly the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, as we determine how to best help our farmers who are suffering from the effects of drought. I appreciate Sec. Vilsack’s continued efforts to make sure our hard-working families have the resources they need to endure this historic drought.”

During the 2012 crop year, USDA has designated 1,496 counties across 33 states as disaster areas due to drought.  Last month, Secretary Vilsack announced improvements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster designation process and enhancements to existing disaster-related support for American farmers.  Secretary Vilsack announced the process for Secretarial disaster declarations will be simplified, which will cut the processing time for declarations nearly in half for most counties. He also announced a reduced interest rate for emergency loans; and a smaller payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012 from 25 to 10 percent.

A natural disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans. The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to designate disaster counties to make disaster assistance programs available to farmers and ranchers. Regulations for this process have not been substantively revised since 1988.

Kentucky counties which have received a federal disaster declaration are listed below. Several counties have been designated as both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

Primary disaster counties:

Contiguous affected counties:


FEMA Updates Website … New Links

Updates for Hazard Mitigation

FEMA launched an updated website.   Links to Hazard Mitigation Assistance resources have been changed.  Please review the information posted in the News tab on the Index.


President Declares Disaster For Kentucky

Federal Disaster Aid In Kentucky Tops $18 Million

Release Date: April 20, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Total federal disaster assistance approved for Kentucky survivors of the tornadoes and damaging storms of Feb. 29 – March 3 now stands at more than $18.6 million.  To date:

  • Close to 5,300 Kentuckians in 21 designated counties have contacted FEMA for help or information regarding disaster assistance.
  • Over $8.7 million has been approved for Individual Assistance grants, including housing assistance, short-term rental assistance, home repair costs and other needs assistance.
  • Nearly $1.8 million of the Individual Assistance grants was for Other Needs Assistance, including payments for such eligible disaster-related items as medical and dental expenses, and lost personal possessions.
  • More than 2,580 homes sustained damages. Of those, more than 280 were destroyed.
  • Nearly 3,200 inspections of damaged properties have been conducted.
  • More than $9.9 million in low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses has been approved by the Small Business Administration.
  • FEMA Public Assistance has obligated more than $55,000 for repair projects in eligible counties.

Kentucky counties eligible for help from FEMA’s Public Assistance program are Adair, Ballard, Bath, Grant, Johnson, Kenton, Larue, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Morgan, Pendleton, Trimble and Wolfe.   Public Assistance is available on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, utilities, schools, and similar facilities. Public Assistance is also available to certain private nonprofit agencies and organizations.

Commonwealth counties eligible for Individual Assistance are Bath, Campbell, Carroll, Grant, Grayson, Johnson, Kenton, Larue, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Rowan, Russell, Trimble and Wolfe.   Individual Assistance for homeowners and renters can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other assistance programs.

Kentucky Emergency Management urges anyone who has storm damage to their residence or other property to document the damage by photographing or videoing it and to maintain a list of any repairs and keep repair receipts.

Free crisis counseling, supported by a grant from FEMA to the Kentucky Community Crisis Response Board, is available to Kentuckians who suffer from stress, anxiety or depression as a result of the recent storms and flooding. Persons who need this assistance and live in Johnson, Magoffin, or Martin County call 800-422-1060; residents of Bath, Lawrence, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Rowan, or Wolfe counties call 800-562-8909; citizens in Campbell, Carroll, Grant, Kenton, or Pendleton County call 859-331-3292; and in Laurel County, call 888-640-9335.

The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides Commonwealth, local governments and certain private nonprofits with grants to improve the ability of public facilities to withstand future disasters.  Additional information on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program in Kentucky can be accessed at:

More disaster-specific information can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management website at 

News Releases


Kentucky Disaster Survivors: Get the Facts about Disaster Assistance

Following a disaster, survivors may hear inaccurate, incomplete or misleading information about disaster assistance. The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge Kentuckians affected by the May storms and flooding to get the facts. Here are some of the most common questions about assistance, with answers from KYEM and FEMA.


Will FEMA give me enough money to make all the repairs I need to make because of storm and flood damage and to replace all my property that was damaged or destroyed? 
It’s important to have realistic expectations. By law, FEMA grants are limited to making a home’s essential living space safe, sanitary and secure and to helping pay for disaster-related losses of essential personal property. This usually will not be enough to cover the entire loss.


If I reported my damages to my county emergency manager, am I registered with FEMA? 
You still need to call FEMA’s toll-free registration number at 800-621-FEMA 3362, TTY 800-462-7585 or apply online anytime at


I have insurance. Should I still register for aid? 
FEMA may be able to help you with disaster-related costs that your insurance does not cover. The only way to find out what may be available is to register with FEMA. You will be asked about your insurance when you register and you may eventually need to provide FEMA with a letter from your insurance company stating what part of the loss insurance covers. FEMA isn’t allowed to duplicate payments an applicant gets from another source, such as insurance payments.


I already repaired my home. Am I eligible for help?
By registering, you still could qualify for reimbursement of money you spent out of your own funds for repairs. It is helpful, but not required, to have photographs documenting the damage and receipts for money spent for repairs.


I didn’t spend much for repairs. Is there a minimum amount of damage I have to have to get federal assistance?
The damage has to be more than $50.


Is there an income threshold for disaster assistance?
FEMA assistance is available without any income test.


I could register for assistance, but isn’t it better to leave the money for people who need it more than I do? 
FEMA has sufficient funding to cover all eligible losses. You are not depriving anyone else of help by registering yourself.


Why are FEMA funds referred to as a grant? 
Money received does not have to be repaid and is tax-free. Loans from the SBA must be repaid. The FEMA grant is not counted as income or a resource in determining eligibility for welfare, income assistance, or income-tested benefit programs funded by the federal government. However, you must keep receipts or bills for three years to show how all of the money was used in meeting your disaster-related needs.


Can I apply for assistance for my damaged car?
Yes. You will need to provide proof of ownership and insurance information. You may need to complete an SBA application first to see if you qualify for a low-interest loan.


Can I apply for assistance for food that has been lost because of the disaster?
No. Food loss is not covered by FEMA. Voluntary organizations may be able to help you with food needs.


Will any program pay for moving and storage expenses? 
Costs of moving and storage may be covered, if these costs are directly related to the disaster. Submit receipts to see if they are covered. Again, you may need to complete an SBA application first to see if you qualify for a low-interest loan.


Is there any assistance for renters?
If you are a renter and had to move to another dwelling because of the disaster, you may qualify for temporary rental assistance. Keep any receipts and include that information when you register. You also may apply for a low-interest disaster loan from the Small Business Administration for personal property losses.


I don’t understand why I’ve received a loan application from the Small Business Administration . I don’t own a business, so why was this loan application sent to me?
In federally declared disasters, SBA loans are not just for small businesses. Low interest disaster loans from the SBA are the nation’s primary source of assistance to help homeowners, renters, non-profit organizations and businesses of all sizes rebuild and recover. SBA disaster loan interest rates are as low as 2.437 percent for homeowners and renters, and 4 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial situation.


I don’t want a loan, but I received a loan application in the mail from the Small Business Administration. Why should I complete that SBA form if I don’t want a loan? 
Applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to the SBA to be considered for FEMA grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. If SBA determines you are ineligible for a loan, it will refer you back to FEMA to be considered for grants to help with your disaster-related personal property losses, vehicle repair or replacement expenses or with moving and storage expenses. If SBA offers you a loan, you will not be eligible for these additional FEMA grants. You are not obligated to accept a loan.


Officials from KYEM and FEMA already looked at my property and asked me questions. Doesn’t that mean I’m registered?
You may have seen representatives of local, state or federal agencies during damage assessments. The ONLY way to register for assistance from FEMA is to call 800-621-FEMA 3362, TTY 800-462-7585 or apply online anytime at


I’d like to apply for help from FEMA but I’m afraid it will affect my Social Security or other government benefits. Should I be worried? 
FEMA grants do not affect eligibility for any other benefit program or the amounts received from other programs. The grants are not reported to the IRS as income.


FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.