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After Colo. Flood, 5 Legal Issues to Address

After the disastrous Colorado flood, there are many legal issues that still remain. Evacuations are still underway after last week's severe flooding that, as of Tuesday, had left eight people dead and at least 1,600 homes destroyed, Reuters reports.

President Obama declared the area a major disaster over the weekend, and has set aside federal funds and resources to aid the state in its recovery. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also issued a news release summarizing some of the federal aid programs available.

Here are five legal issues that Colorado flood victims may need to address:

  1. Home repairs. Many homes have been damaged from the flood. There are many issues that come with the process of repairing a home after a disaster, including factors like avoiding rip-offs and dealing with fraudulent contractors.
  2. Personal property loss. Not only were homes ruined, but personal property has been lost or destroyed as well. A homeowner's insurance policy can potentially help cover some damages in a natural disaster, but not all. FEMA is set to offer different types of loans to cover small losses not fully compensated by insurance.
  3. Unemployment. Many affected by flooding have likely lost (or at least temporarily lost) their jobs. Some may quality for state benefits. Others, such as self-employed individuals, may be eligible for FEMA unemployment assistance, which can potentially last up to 26 weeks.
  4. Small businesses. Many small businesses will likely not have the funds available to fully recover. This may require seeking additional funding, such as a small business disaster loan. These loans can be for as much as $2 million, depending on the circumstances.
  5. Disaster tax deduction. For eligible victims, a disaster tax deduction may be applicable when Tax Day rolls around. This requires the taxpayer to itemize your deductions and to file additional paperwork.

For those in the Colorado flood disaster zone, legal help is on the way. The Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado is planning to offer disaster legal services; keep your eye on the Foundation's website to learn when those services will be available in your area.

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