Trenton, N.J. -- A toll-free application telephone number is available for New Jersey residents who suffered property damage or loss in the declared counties affected by the severe storms and flooding that began on June 23.
In response to a request from Governor Jon Corzine, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration on July 7, 2006, designating the counties of Hunterdon, Mercer, and Warren eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of affected residents and business owners.
This declaration provides for a wide range of recovery programs such as temporary housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans for individuals and business owners to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs or expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are working together with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) to implement the approved federal disaster programs. Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Peter Martinasco said those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. There is also an online application available at www.fema.gov.
"Your application is the starting point for both state and federal assistance available under the disaster declaration, Martinasco said." The telephone is a quick and confidential way to apply but the web application process is easy and available anytime."
When you contact FEMA to apply, have the following information available:
Your current phone number;
Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
Your Social Security number,
A general list of damages and losses you suffered;
If insured, the name of your company or agent and your policy number;
General financial information; and
Bank account coding if you wish to speed up your assistance with direct deposit
"Don't prejudge your eligibility, even if you don't have all the information necessary or it was lost in the flooding. It's important that all residents get the assistance available to them as quickly as possible," said New Jersey State Coordinating Officer, Lt. Bill McDonnell. "Even if you have already registered with the American Red Cross or another voluntary agency or have reported damage to county or local officials, you should apply for the federal and state assistance programs by calling FEMA's toll-free number or going online."
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details to you when you call.
In the counties of Hunterdon, Mercer, Warren, and Sussex, the Presidential disaster declaration provides federal funding for affected local governments to pay 75 percent of eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. Federal funds are also available for cost sharing of expenses for approved projects that can reduce future disaster risk.