Late last week residents in Linn County finally got word that they could file for FEMA federal aid following the August 10th derecho that slammed Eastern Iowa. If you've never filed for federal aid before, don't worry. I did it over the weekend and it took all of about five to ten minutes. Here is how it works.

As the Cedar Rapids Gazette points out, those people who suffered loses due to the derecho in Linn County may file for help through FEMA's Individual and Household Program. It provides financial assistance to help with disaster recovery, grants to pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, personal property loses, and medical expenses incurred due to the storm. This federal aid has been requested in other counties in Iowa, but so far Linn County is the only one to have it approved. To apply you can call 1-800-621-3362. Or you can go to DisasterAssistance.gov and register online.

To file, you'll need to have certain information handy. The Gazette reports that you'll need your social security number, annual household income, contact information including an email address, your insurance information, and bank account information in case you are eligible so your funds can be direct deposited. You'll also create an online account at DisasterAssistance.gov so you can check in on the status of your claim. I did all this over the weekend and the process was easy to follow.

But what can residents do in counties that don't have access yet to FEMA funds? The Disaster Case Management Program can help. For more information on that program you can go to iowacommunityaction.org. The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program also provides up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level. To apply go to the Iowa Department of Human Services website.

Homeowners can also get relief from their mortgage payments. Just go to iowarealtors.com/news/derecho-storm-relief and fill out the form for disaster assistance.