Following severe flooding this summer in some parts of the country, the federal government recently improved new disaster recovery funds.

Disaster recovery funds to be included in final version of Fiscal Year 2012 bill

This past November, Congressman Maurice Hinchey – a Democrat from New York – requested that more than $2.6 billion in disaster recovery funding be added to the federal fiscal budget for 2012. While there was general agreement about the need for added funds in the wake of tropical storms that hammered the East Coast, the money was then attached to a number of controversial bills that were opposed by Republicans and Democrats. As a result, home and business owners in many parts of the country have needed to wait longer to secure funds that could help them rebuild.

However, on December 16, Hinchey along with his fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate voted to provide $6.4 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. An additional $1.7 billion will be given to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help secure against damage from future disasters.

While ultimately this was a victory for Hinchey and those seeking disaster relief, the congressman issued a statement expressing his dissatisfaction with the delay many Americans experienced as a result.

"Congress waited far too long to approve comprehensive disaster relief funding, but the good news is that adequate funding will be available for farmers, families and businesses who are still struggling to overcome the challenges created by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee," Hinchey said in a statement.

However, business owners that experienced a slow disaster recovery due to these storms may want to invest resources in initiatives that could help them better prepare for a smoother small business recovery the next time around. By working with a disaster recovery consulting firm, for instance, small business owners can learn how to best safeguard their operations and essential data from threats.