On this page we list benefits, recovery programs and common legal problems that can come up after a flooding disaster in Vermont with links to information and help. If you live in Vermont, contact us if you have questions. Tell us if your problem is due to the flooding disaster. We may not be able to directly help you, but we can point you to resources that can help.
Deadlines to note
- ASAP — If you have insurance, contact your home/renter/flood/car insurers and file a claim because FEMA will need documentation of what insurance will not cover. Also apply for help from FEMA at the same time.
- September 29, 2023, before 4 p.m. — Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance by this date — for all affected counties.
- October 12, 2023 — Apply for FEMA assistance by this date. This is a new deadline — but don't wait to apply!
- October 12, 2023 — If you apply for a SBA loan, apply by this date.
- 60 days — Appeal any FEMA decision within 60 days of the date on the decision letter.
Flood-related pages on VTLawHelp.org
- Mobile home owners / lot renters FAQs
- Vermont renter / tenant FAQs after a disaster
- Filing an insurance claim after a disaster
- Applying for financial help and services from FEMA and appealing a FEMA decision
- USDA RD grants for very-low-income homeowners
- SBA disaster loans for homeowners and renters
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- People impacted by flood can enroll in a health coverage plan
- Tax relief after a disaster
- Mortgages and property taxes after a disaster
- Download a flyer about how LSV and VLA can help with flood-related issues — Please share!
Common legal problems that can come up after a flooding disaster:
- Finding emergency housing. For people impacted by recent flooding — or any Vermonter who needs emergency housing — call 1-800-775-0506 to find out about the General Assistance Housing Program (Hotel or Motel) for Catastrophic Need. If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal that decision. If you are denied or terminated from emergency housing, fill out our form and we will call you back. Or call us for help at 1-800-889-2047. Be sure to give us some details about your problem.
- Getting emergency benefits like 3SquaresVT (food stamps).
- Fill out this Vermont 211 form to report that you were impacted by the flooding. Note: You will still have to apply to FEMA. The 211 form collects info to show FEMA there is a need in Vermont. (If you are a business, fill out the business form.)
- Submitting insurance claims (flood, homeowners, car, renters’, medical, life, etc.) and appealing insurance payouts. Be sure to take photos to document the damage. Keep receipts on all expenses you had after the flood. Keep letters and notes on all your communications with the insurance company. If you have insurance, contact your home/renters/flood/car insurers and file a claim because FEMA will need documentation of what insurance will not cover.
- Applying for financial help and services from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and appealing FEMA decisions. Keep receipts on all expenses you had after the flood. Be sure to keep all letters and documents you get from FEMA. See our FAQ.
- Renter / tenant rights after a disaster, including ending a lease, repairs, personal property damage, lockouts, abandoned property, evictions, etc. See our FAQ.
- Dealing with damaged mobile homes and mobile home parks.
- Home repair contracts and mobile home repair and demolition contracts. Before you hire a contractor, check Vermont's home improvement fraud registry web page. Build back stronger with FEMA Hazard Mitigation HelpLine: If your home was damaged, call 1-833-336-2487 to get advice on how to build your home back stronger and safer. Select #3 for Vermont. Or visit a Disaster Recovery Center. Experts will help any homeowner who asks, not just those dealing with damage from this year.
- Dealing with scams. Recently, the Attorney General's Office alerted folks to a utility disconnection scam in Vermont. Scammers demand payment along with threats to disconnect your utility. HANG UP and CALL your utility provider directly, using a number you know to be valid. There's also a Craigslist housing scam. Physically go to the place that is for rent before you hand over any money.
- Consumer rights issues.
- Mortgage and property tax problems, including avoiding foreclosure, delaying mortgage payments and property tax forgiveness.
- Replacing important documents destroyed in the natural disaster, such as deeds, identification, birth and marriage records, and the like.
- Understanding, applying for and accessing your public benefits. These include food stamps (3SquaresVT), welfare (ReachUp), social security disability, Medicaid, etc.
- Claiming disaster losses on your tax return and other tax relief, including tax deadlines and getting copies of past tax returns.
- Preparing guardianships and conservatorships.
- Referrals to local or state agencies which might offer more help (such as the Consumer Assistance Program of the Attorney General’s Office).
- Helping people with disabilities to get accessible housing, durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs), prescriptions, medical care, including mental health services, and accessible transportation.
- Helping people with disabilities who work or have their own business. Vermont Legal Aid's Client Assistance Program (CAP) helps people with disabilities who are trying to access help from HireAbility Vermont to get work, or start their own businesses. Because of the flooding, people with disabilities who were working or running their own businesses lost jobs and businesses. If this happened to you, and you want to know whether HireAbility Vermont could help you, or what rights you have to services and financial assistance, contact us and ask to speak with CAP.
- Helping children maintain their education.
- Employment issues, including applying for unemployment assistance, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, arranging family leave, etc.
- General real estate and title issues such as boundary lines.
- For the following issues, you may want to contact the Vermont Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service to consult with a private lawyer:
- “Takings” such as the emergency relocation of a road onto a homeowner’s property.
- Regulatory and permitting issues relating to damaged, destroyed or contaminated property.
- Access to public infrastructure like roads, sewer, water, power, telephone services.
- Hazardous waste spills/releases; contaminated property.
- Estate administration such as insolvent estates.
- Business issues
- Business legal issues: Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid do not have expertise in business law. If you have questions about leases or other legal issues, contact the Entrepreneurial Legal Lab at Vermont Law School. They are offering help to small businesses with flood-related issues.
- Financial and other help: See the VBSR page for businesses and VtSBDC website.
- Help with federal programs like SBA: Contact Vermont’s representatives in Congress.
- Unemployment: You and your employees may be eligible for unemployment assistance or Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
Moved due to the flooding? Keep FEMA and other organizations up to date with your mailing address.
Important flood information and resources in Vermont
- ($) Filing an insurance claim after a disaster
- ($) Applying for financial help and services from FEMA and appealing a FEMA decision
- ($) USDA RD grants for very-low-income homeowners
- ($) SBA disaster loans for homeowners and renters
- ($) Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- ($) Tax relief after a disaster
- ($) Mortgages and property taxes after a disaster
- ($) Grants for residents affected by flooding from Red Cross of Northern New England
- ($) Grants for homeowners affected by flooding from Vermont Association of Realtors.
- ($) Rebates and information on water heaters, dehumidifiers, furnaces, appliances and weatherization from Efficiency Vermont. Applications are now being accepted from residents who have already applied to FEMA and would like to apply for up to $10,000 in rebates for efficient appliances and heating systems. (See "My home was damaged by the flood" on that page.)
- 3SquaresVT can help you meet your family’s food needs
- Free meals for those impacted by flooding through Vermont Emergency Eats
- Free mental health counseling for flooding survivors. Call or text at any time of day or night: 1-800-985-5990.
- People impacted by flooding can enroll in a health coverage plan
Housing that flooded
- Mobile home owners / lot renters FAQs
- Vermont renter / tenant FAQs after a disaster
- Mold in your home: Learn how to address this problem with information from OSHA, CDC and Vermont Department of Health.
- Build back stronger with advice from FEMA Hazard Mitigation HelpLine: If your home was damaged, call 1-833-336-2487 to get advice on how to build your home back stronger and safer. Select #3 for Vermont. Or visit a Disaster Recovery Center. Experts will help any homeowner who asks, not just those dealing with damage from this year.
General disaster help
- Find help for many things like housing, food and clean-up help by calling 2-1-1
- Walk-in Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) (check for frequent location changes) to find help with disaster recovery
- Locations where you need to boil your water before using it, or not use the water. See some tips.
- State of Vermont flood page with info on help you can get
- Vermont State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) — 1-800-347-0488
Legal aid and legal services
- Find information on many benefits and legal topics, above, and throughout on the VTLawHelp.org website
- Flyer about how Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid can help you with flood-related issues
- Find a private lawyer through the Vermont Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
- Free legal clinics for flood victims on September 9 and 11
- Free legal help for small businesses through the Entrepreneurial Legal Lab at Vermont Law School
- Educational disaster response videos from South Carolina Legal Services
- National website about legal information for disaster survivors from the Legal Services Corporation
If you live in Vermont, contact us if you have questions. Tell us if your problem is due to the flooding disaster. We may not be able to directly help you, but we can point you to resources that can help.