ALBANY, N.Y. -- New Yorkers recovering from the impact of Hurricane Sandy in nine counties can now register for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The major federal disaster declaration, signed by President Obama Oct. 30, offers Individual Assistance in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester. Residents from these counties are eligible to register.
Assistance for losses sustained anytime after the storm, which began on Oct. 27 and continuing, may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help recover from the effects of the disaster.
Even those with insurance may be eligible for help from FEMA if their insurance policy does not cover all their needs.
This is how the process works:
Step 1: Register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
There are several ways to register:
- Apply online anytime at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY at 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to assist with the application process.
- By smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov, or for devices with the Android operating system, a FEMA App can be downloaded at market.android.com/details?id=gov.fema.mobile.android.
- When applying for aid, you will receive a nine-digit registration number that can be used for reference when corresponding with FEMA.
It is helpful to have the following information handy:
- Current telephone number;
- Address at the time of the disaster and current address;
- Social Security number, if available;
- A general list of damages and losses;
- If insured, the name of insurance company, agent and policy number; and Bank routing number for any direct deposit.
Step 2: Receive a property inspection.
Within a few days after registering, eligible applicants will be telephoned to make an appointment to have their damaged property inspected. The inspectors, who are FEMA contractors and carry identification badges, visit to make a record of damage. They do not make a determination regarding assistance. There is no cost for the inspection.
Step 3: All applicants will receive a letter from FEMA regarding the status of their requests for federal assistance.
Some will also receive an application for a low-interest disaster recovery loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Anyone who has questions about the letter from FEMA should call the helpline (800-621-3362 or TTY, 800-462-7585).
Those who receive an application packet from the SBA should complete and submit the forms. No one is required to accept a loan but submitting the application may open the door to additional FEMA grants.