President Trump Signs Hurricane Relief Legislation

President Trump has signed into law the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017’’ (H.R. 601). This law makes available roughly $15 billion in federal aid for Hurricane Harvey and other disaster victims. It does not contain specific retirement-related provisions.

The bill authorizes approximately $7.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $450 million for Small Business Administration (SBA) efforts to help recovering businesses, and $7.4 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for block grants to states, to be used for this and other disaster events in 2017.

The legislation also extends to December 8, 2017, authorization for federal agency funding as well as a temporary increase in the federal debt limit.

Still undetermined is whether future legislative efforts will grant special access and treatment for retirement plan and IRA distributions, which in the past has followed certain major hurricanes or disaster events. Following some past disasters events, such as Hurricane Katrina, legislative efforts have granted special access and treatment of distributions from, and later repayment to, tax-advantaged retirement savings arrangements.