The federal government has officially declared the flash floods on March 27 and March 28 to have been a major disaster. That means federal money will be available to pay for response efforts and infrastructure repair in 23 Tennessee counties.
The 23 counties included in the “major disaster declaration” are Campbell, Cannon, Cheatham, Claiborne, Clay, Davidson, Decatur, Fentress, Grainger, Hardeman, Henderson, Hickman, Jackson, Madison, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Overton, Scott, Smith, Wayne, Williamson, and Wilson counties.
In addition to county-level funding, households in Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties are eligible for FEMA’s individual assistance program. Counties qualify for individual assistance based on variables like the number of homes destroyed, the level of insurance homeowners had and if damaged structures are in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty or unemployment.
Dean Flener with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says even individuals with flood insurance or who already paid to fix damage may still qualify for aid.
“It is not unheard of that people are underinsured or they’re not going to get coverage for something they thought, and they can register with FEMA to possibly find other assistance to cover that,” Flener says.
Those who suffered damage can find more information at disasterassistance.gov.
The floods caused seven deaths, and more than 15,000 people lost power. Some areas had between 7 and 9 inches of rainfall, causing one of the worst flash floods in over a decade.
This is Tennessee’s second disaster declaration in 2021. The first was February’s winter storms.
Unemployment benefits available for impacted workers
Some workers in Davidson, Williamson and Wilson Counties whose jobs were disrupted by severe storms and flash flooding in late March are also eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
DUA provides benefits to people whose jobs were lost or interrupted by a major disaster who do not qualify for regular unemployment.
Acceptable reasons to claim DUA include not being able to travel to work, missing time due to injuries, or a workplace no longer existing as a result of the disaster. Help is also available to survivors if the head of the household was killed.
People have 30 days from the May 10 disaster declaration to file for this assistance. They can apply at Jobs4TN.gov.
This story was updated Tuesday morning to add information about disaster unemployment.