NEW YORK – Since Hurricane Sandy impacted New York State, voluntary agencies and community- and faith-based groups have been working hand-in-hand with New Yorkers to help meet their needs — and some agencies may have asked survivors to register with them.
But the Federal Emergency Management Agency is reminding survivors to register with FEMA if they are seeking federal disaster grants or loans.
“We often find that people think they are registered with FEMA after they have contacted their county emergency managers, disaster-relief organizations, or local community- or faith-based organizations, but they are not,” said Michael F. Byrne, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer. “The only way we can get federal assistance to eligible survivors is if they are registered with FEMA.”
This means you should register with FEMA even if you have contacted New York 2-1-1, the American Red Cross or any other agency or local organization. Only a FEMA registration will open the way for possible federal grants and loans.
“Sometimes survivors mistakenly think they are not eligible for federal or state assistance, but when we review their applications we find they are,” Byrne said. “That’s why it’s so important that they register.”
That means register with FEMA, even if:
- You have insurance. FEMA may be able to provide additional assistance or help with other needs not covered by insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but underinsured applicants may receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.
- You used all the rent money that your insurance company provided under Alternative Living Expenses coverage and your home is not ready for occupancy.
- Your insurance does not include Alternative Living Expenses.
- Your insurance settlement for Hurricane Sandy has not arrived.
- Your home is still inaccessible. Register. If a housing inspection is warranted, we’ll assign an inspector as soon as possible.
- You are a renter. Renters may be eligible for temporary housing or other needs assistance.
- You think you may not be eligible. Let our specialists work with you to help determine whether FEMA might be able to provide some form of assistance.
- You only had minor damage. It’s hard to know the full extent of the damage. Go ahead and register.
Survivors have until Jan. 28, 2013 to register for FEMA assistance.
Registration is easy through any of FEMA’s registration portals: Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, via smartphone or tablet, go to m.fema.gov or download the FEMA app. Call 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. For those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.
A FEMA Language Assistance Line is available for those who need interpretation services in languages other than English or Spanish. Call: 866-333-1796.
Survivors can also visit any one of the Disaster Recovery Centers now open in many of the disaster-designated counties. To find the DRC nearest you, the following options are available: Text DRC and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA), and a text message will be sent back with the address or visit www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.
Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help pay for temporary housing and emergency home repairs to make a home habitable. Survivors could also be eligible for grants for serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.