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FEEA update: Disaster budget ‘completely blown,’ donations needed

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The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund just responded to some questions I had about the state of their disaster relief finances, and the outlook is not good.

“At this point, our natural disaster budget is completely blown,” said Robyn Kehoe, FEEA’s director of field operations said in an e-mail. Later this week, FEEA will have $35,000 on hand to start distributing, thanks to an end-of-year donation from Blue Cross Blue Shield it expects to receive this week. But $35,000 doesn’t go very far — it’s only enough to pay for $500 grants for 70 feds. FEEA will need additional donations to keep distributing funds after Blue Cross’ $35,000 runs out, Kehoe said.

“The $35,000 from BCBS is huge for us in making sure we can at least start handing out grants for Sandy,” Kehoe said.

After Hurricane Isaac struck in August, FEEA handed out more than $80,000 in grants and no-interest loans to nearly 600 feds. That chewed through all of the disaster funds FEEA had on hand.

But FEEA’s natural disaster funds haven’t had any reserves to draw on since 2007′s Hurricane Gustav, Kehoe said. That year, FEEA paid out roughy $800,000 more than it took in.

FEEA will also provide no-interest loans of up to $1,000 to Hurricane Sandy victims, Kehoe said.

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