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National Disaster Legal Aid

Please note this page is no longer being updated as of June 2021.


Disaster Legal Hotline: 1-877-469-2259

A severe storm and floodings hit areas in Iowa on August 10, 2020. On August 17, 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Iowa to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected during this period. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. People in the following areas are eligible to receive federal disaster assistance. Additional areas may be designated later. 

  • Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama

For DR-4557, assistance for affected individuals and families is available and people are urged to apply through FEMA.

Disaster Number: 4557


Deadline to Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance


October 16, 2020

Appeal Your FEMA Decision Within 60 days of the date on the determination letter

Key resources for those impacted by this disaster


Residents and businesses affected by this disaster can apply for government disaster relief benefits in several ways:

  • Online at
  • On the FEMA Mobile App,
  • Text “DRC” and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to locate a Disaster Recovery Center in your area (standard message and data rates apply), or by
  • Calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish and press 3 for other languages. 
  • For official news and press releases related to this disaster, please visit FEMA's News & Updates section
  • Note: Apply to FEMA to trigger the SBA Disaster loan process.
  • Download this quick guide for an overview on the disaster assistance process.
  • Do you need help understanding the FEMA application and appeals process? Download Figuring Out FEMA, a free and simple guide that breaks down the process of enrolling in FEMA's Individual Assistance program. It also explains how to appeal FEMA's decision if you are denied aid or need more assistance and explains your rights when interacting with FEMA. Click here.


  • A TOLL-FREE LEGAL AID HOTLINE is now available for survivors in Iowa who cannot pay for an attorney:
    • Survivors may CALL 1-877-469-2259 toll-free, 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday to request assistance. 
    • Click here for the full press release. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Iowa lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal limited help.
  • For legal assistance and other helpful recovery information, you can visit:  
    • Legal Aid of Iowa - Visit their Disaster Recovery resources page if you were affected by the flooding. 
    • Need help finding information? Chat with someone who can help you. 
    • Iowa State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division - Public Resources 
    • United Policyholders United Policyholders (UP) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group that specializes in helping disaster survivors with insurance claim issues. UP also trains case managers and legal aid lawyers to assist clients with insurance and disaster recovery matters.
    • ABA Disaster Legal Services Program: Through the Disaster Legal Services Program, the ABA Young Lawyers Division (ABA-YLD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide immediate temporary legal assistance to disaster survivors at no charge. Please visit their page for other disaster recovery resources.
  • If you need to appeal a FEMA denial on your own, please see here to get an interactive form to appeal and letter requesting a copy of your file.



  • CALL TO ACTION FOR IOWA ATTORNEYS - Iowa State Bar President Tom Levis put out a call to action for Iowa attorneys to help the thousands of Iowa families have suffered destruction and damage from the recent flooding in several areas of the state this spring. Read the call to action here.
  • Join Iowa Free Legal Answers to sign up to answer legal questions online, right from your computer. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources and trainings available at
    Bookmark United Policyholder's (UP) website and resources, including the Roadmap to Recovery and Advocacy and Action. UP's mission is to be a trustworthy and useful information resource and an effective voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states.
  • Consider joining the National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center to connect with other attorneys and advocates responding to natural disasters. The Center offers monthly training calendar emails, specialized advocacy resources, a member roster, and discussion lists you can sign up for.