Tester: Individual disaster assistance ‘long overdue and welcome’

(U.S. SENATE) – Sen. Jon Tester today released the following statement in response to an announcement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that residents of several Montana counties and Indian Reservations qualify for individual disaster assistance following record flooding across the state this spring:

“Today’s announcement is long overdue and welcome news for Montana families, homeowners and small businesses still struggling in the wake of this year’s flooding.  Now our focus turns to rebuilding damaged property and protecting the jobs and livelihoods of Montanans affected by these floods.  They deserve smart decisions about their future, which is why I asked for this assistance weeks ago.”

The announcement follows Tester’s request of President Obama to approve individual disaster assistance for affected Montanans.

Montanans who qualify for individual disaster assistance are encouraged to visit Tester’s online flood resource website, tester.senate.gov/flood or disasterassistance.gov for further details.

Earlier this month, Tester organized 17 outreach meetings across Montanans to provide resources and information for flood victims.

Tester’s letter requesting individual disaster assistance for Montanans is online HERE and appears below.


The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

In light of the severe flooding that has impacted thousands of citizens across my state this Spring, your swift declaration of a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for the State of Montana was appreciated.  You can be certain that I will continue working closely with Administration officials to ensure that needed federal resources continue to be made available in a timely manner for Montanans.  To ensure this happens, I strongly urge you to approve the State of Montana’s request for a determination of eligibility for Individual Assistance as quickly as possible.

As you know, severe flooding has destroyed Montana homes and businesses, it has devastated farmland and ranch-land and it has displaced families across our state.  For many of our communities, the basic services and infrastructure they rely upon have been destroyed.  Communities now seek to rebuild and move forward. And though Montanans will continue to show an admirable resilience, there are some burdens that are simply too big for them to bear alone. 

Prompt approval of Individual Assistance will ensure that the home-owners, farmers, ranchers and business owners in those counties designated in the disaster declaration will have access to the federal grants, loans and assistance they desperately need.  As FEMA helps us better assess the extent of the flood damage, I will continue to request and expect that your Administration will enlist all relevant federal agencies in the expedited delivery of the assistance and services Montanans need to rebuild and recover.

It is critical that we do everything we can on behalf of our communities and families who are simply looking to pick up the pieces.  They need to rebuild their homes, farms, ranches and businesses, and to get back on their feet. Your prompt approval for a determination of eligibility for Individual Assistance will mean a great deal to address the urgent needs of the citizens of my state.

I appreciate your consideration of this request.

Jon Tester