Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Disaster Aid Questions

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Release date: 
January 14, 2013
Release Number: 
NR-138

NEW YORK – As the Jan. 28, 2012 deadline to register for FEMA assistance approaches in New York, recovery officials want to make sure survivors have all the information they need about disaster aid.

New York’s Federal Coordinating Officer for Hurricane Sandy, Michael Byrne, hosted the first of a series of ‘live’ chats on Twitter this week to address questions and concerns about disaster assistance, tweeting about FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance and housing repair grants in the one-hour session. He will be doing additional chat sessions in the coming weeks. Keep following  @FEMASandy for the latest information on the next chat.

Following are some of the most commonly asked disaster aid questions, (in more than 140 characters). For additional Q&As, go to www.fema.gov/SandyNY.

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE

I submitted my papers for disaster assistance but have not heard anything, how long does it take to hear back?

If you submitted an application for assistance due to damage to your home, a FEMA-contracted inspector should contact you to schedule an appointment within 10 days of registering. If you are seeking other forms of assistance, and you have completed and mailed in your SBA disaster loan application, you should receive an eligibility letter within 10 days of returning your paperwork. If 10 days have passed and you haven’t heard from us, call the FEMA toll-free Helpline 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585.)

If you were asked to provide additional documentation and did so and have not heard back, call the helpline as well.

How can I extend my FEMA rental assistance?

To receive additional temporary rental assistance, you must complete the Continuing Need form with all the applicable information and mail it back to us at the address printed on the form. If you don’t have the form, contact FEMA’s toll-free Helpline.

NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM

What should I do if I’m still waiting on my flood insurance settlement?

Contact your claims adjuster or carrier to see if you may be eligible for an expedited flood insurance payment to cover repairs of your home’s mechanicals damaged in the disaster. You can call the NFIP Help Center 800-427-4661 to address questions about your flood insurance claim or payment.

Why am I required to build above the minimum elevation requirement?

Each community develops their own local building requirements. You should contact your community’s floodplain manager to discuss elevation requirements for your property. Elevation requirements are meant to protect your home from future flood damages. In general, if your home is located in a high-risk area, the higher you build above the base flood elevation, the lower your premium and potential for flood damage.

To find out how you need to build contact your community’s floodplain manager who can help you walk through the elevation requirements for your property.  His/her contact information is usually available on your city government web site.

MITIGATION: REBUILDING BETTER AND STRONGER

Is there money available to elevate/mitigate my home?

There may be assistance available to help you mitigate your home.

  • If you applied for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and it was approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements – such as elevating your home – to protect your property against future damage. Contact SBA at 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.
  • If you already had a flood insurance policy before the storm, and your home was substantially damaged, you may be eligible to receive up to $30,000 in increased cost of compliance coverage to elevate your home after you file your claim. Talk to your insurance agent to determine if you’re eligible.
  • FEMA provides hazard mitigation grants to states for activities such as structure elevation, property acquisition, and flood proofing. The state determines which activities will be funded with hazard mitigation grants. To learn more about these grants, visit www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance or contact your local floodplain manager for more details.

For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov/SandyNY, www.twitter.com/FEMASandy, www.facebook.com/FEMASandy and www.fema.gov/blog.

Last Updated: 
January 16, 2013 - 09:41
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