Privately-owned roads and bridges may be eligible for assistance from FEMA or SBA; myths vs. facts on FEMA aid

If you live in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Owsley, Perry or Pike counties and had a privately-owned road or bridge damaged or destroyed by the flooding that began July 26, FEMA or the US Small Business Administration (SBA) may provide financial assistance for replacement or repairs.

FEMA grants — Individual Assistance

FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program grants may be used to repair disaster-damaged privately-owned access roads and bridges. To qualify, the survivor must meet all the basic eligibility criteria outlined for the Individuals and Households Program. They must also be the homeowner and the home serves as the primary residence.

A FEMA inspection is necessary to determine if repairs are necessary for a vehicle to access the property. In addition, the applicant must meet at least one of the following conditions:

• The road and/or bridge is the only access to the property.

• No one can access the home due to damaged infrastructure.

• The applicant is responsible (or shares responsibility with other homeowners) for maintaining the privately-owned access route to their primary residence.

• The safety of the occupants could be adversely affected because emergency services vehicles, such as an ambulance or fire truck, cannot reach the residence. However, this will only be considered if access was available before the disaster occurred.

When multiple households share a privately-owned access route, assistance is shared among applicants, requiring additional coordination and documentation between FEMA and each applicant.

US Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans

The US Small Business Administration, FEMA’s federal partner in disaster recovery, may also be able to help. Businesses, nonprofit organizations including associations, and homeowners may be eligible for a low-interest disaster loan to repair or replace land improvements not covered by insurance. These improvements include: a private road or bridge necessary to access the property (ie, primary residence), repair retaining walls, etc.

Homeowners who share private access roads and bridges with other homeowners may also be eligible for SBA

disaster business loans. Agricultural property is not eligible under SBA’s program. However, the applicant’s (farmer’s) primary residence, personal property contained therein, and access road to the residence are eligible under the disaster home loan criteria.

Businesses can apply directly on SBA’s secure website at Homeowners and renters should first register with FEMA. To obtain more information, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659- 2955. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services, or email

Homeowners and renters in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Owsley, Perry and Pike counties can go online to,, call, (800) 621-3362, or use the FEMA mobile app. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.

For the latest information on Kentucky flooding recovery, visit femagov/disaster/4663 and follow us on Twitter at

For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance go to

Myths vs. facts on FEMA aid

After a disaster, rumors and misunderstandings may spread on social media and among neighbors and friends. FEMA provides the following information for those affected by the recent flooding in Eastern Kentucky:


If you receive money from a GoFundMe page, this will make you inligible for FEMA assistance.


If you receive money from a GoFundMe page for something specific, such as repairs, funeral expenses or other aid, this may affect your FEMA eligibility, but survivors should still apply for assistance and let FEMA determine if you are eligible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits you receive from another source.


If you register with FEMA, you will automatically receive $250.


FEMA determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis. You can apply for assistance by going to, by calling 800- 621-3362, using the FEMA mobile app, or by going to one of FEMA’s mobile registration centers in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike counties.


Survivors should not begin cleaning up until a FEMA inspector has completed an assessment.


Survivors can begin cleaning up immediately to make their homes habitable, but they should take photos or videos of the damage – including inside and outside of the building, and any damage to personal property. Make sure to save all repair receipts.


Eligibility for FEMA assistance depends on your household income.


Eligibility for FEMA assistance does not depend on your household income.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.