Veterans eligible for disaster relief

BLUE EARTH – A disaster relief grant is available to military veterans through the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, says David Hanson, veterans services officer for Faribault County.

The rain and wind storms last month did an extensive amount of damage in southern Minnesota, prompting Gov. Mark Dayton to declare a state of emergency in 35 counties, including Faribault.

“Veterans, their families and surviving spouses may be eligible for a disaster relief grant of up to $1,000 if they have not received other state or federal assistance or insurance reimbursement,” Hanson said, adding that if a veteran is married to a veteran, both can apply.

“Costs must be associated with the repair and recovery of their primary residence and property,” he added.

“They’ll have to pay for it up front themselves,” he said. “Then apply and get reimbursed by the state, up to $1,000.

“There’s only so much money available,” he added. “That’s why they’ll look at it on a case-by-case basis.”

Allowable expenses include major appliances (if it can be shown that the appliance was affected by the storm damage); building materials used in the repairs, such as carpet or shingles; cleaning supplies; and rental costs for construction equipment (but not the purchase of equipment), shelter costs if displaced by the flood, and insurance deductibles.

“They can’t do the work themselves or (have it done by) family members,” Hanson cautioned, adding that furniture and vehicles are not acceptable expenses.

Repairs do not cover businesses or agricultural structures and the veteran must be the owner of the property on which the repairs were made, or must show they were responsible for the repairs or recovery per their lease agreement.

“Original receipts for expenditures must be dated after June 11, 2014, and work completed by August 31, 2014,” Hanson said.

If veterans need help sorting through the information, Hanson said to call (507)?526-6268, or stop at his office at 412 N. Nicollet in Blue Earth. He and his staff will assist.

Bring DD Form 214 (discharge papers) and all receipts from the work or purchases. Photos of the damage will be helpful.

“It’s unfortunate these people have gone through this, and it’s a grant,” Hanson said. “They have to replace it anyway. I think if they are truly affected by the storm, this is a benefit.”