Main Content

Puerto Rico Earthquakes (DR-4473)

Incident Period: December 28, 2019 - February 04, 2020
Major Disaster Declaration declared on January 16, 2020

Individual Assistance Applications
Approved: 10,874

Total Individual & Households Program
Dollars Approved: $29,977,594.57

Total Public Assistance Grants
Dollars Obligated: $399,032.01

Designated Counties (Individual Assistance):

Adjuntas, Aguada, Anasco, Arecibo, Barceloneta, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Coamo, Corozal, Guanica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marias, Maricao, Mayaguez, Moca, Morovis, Naranjito, Orocovis, Penuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San German, San Sebastian, Santa Isabel, Utuado, Villalba, Yauco

Click Here to view this page in Spanish.

Additional Resources

State and Local Referral List

National Referral List

 

News and Upcoming Events

Public Notice 4473-DR-PR

Date of Notice:

March 25, 2020

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice to the public of its intent to reimburse eligible applicants for eligible costs to repair and/or replace facilities damaged by the Puerto Rico earthquakes occurring from December 28, 2019, to February 4, 2020. This notice applies to FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207.

 

Under a major disaster declaration (FEMA-4473-DR-PR) signed by the President on January 16, 2020, and amended March 11, 2020, the following municipalities have been designated as adversely affected by the disaster and eligible for PA and HMGP: Adjuntas, Guánica, Guayanilla, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Las Marías, Mayagüez, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, San Germán, Utuado and Yauco.

 

This public notice concerns activities that may affect historic properties, activities located in affected wetland areas or the 100-year floodplain, and critical actions within the 500-year floodplain. Such activities may adversely affect historic properties, floodplains or wetlands, or may result in continuing vulnerability to earthquake damage.

 

Presidential Executive Orders 11988 and 11990 require that all federal actions in or affecting the floodplain or wetlands be reviewed for opportunities to relocate, and evaluated for social, economic, historical, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Where there is no opportunity to relocate, FEMA is required to undertake a detailed review to determine what measures can be taken to minimize future damage. The public is invited to participate in the process of identifying alternatives and analyzing their impacts.

 

FEMA has determined that for certain types of facilities there are normally no alternatives to restoration in the floodplain/wetlands. These are facilities that meet all the following criteria:

 

1) FEMA’s estimate of the cost of repairs is less than 50 percent of the cost to replace the entire facility and is less than $100,000; 2) the facility is not located in a floodway; 3) the facility has not sustained major structural damage in a previous presidentially declared flooding disaster or emergency; and 4) the facility is not critical. Critical public facilities include those for police, fire protection/emergency services, medical care, education, libraries, utilities and other essential community services, the administrative and support facilities essential to their operation, as well as major communication centers and facilities designed for bulk storage of chemicals, petrochemicals, hazardous or toxic substances or floatable materials. FEMA intends to provide assistance for the restoration of these facilities to their pre-disaster condition.

 

Included in that restoration work may be certain measures to mitigate the effects of future flooding, earthquakes or other hazards.

 

For routine activities, this will be the only public notice provided. Other activities and those involving facilities that do not meet the four criteria are required to undergo more detailed review, including study of alternative locations. Subsequent public notices regarding such projects will be published, if necessary, as more specific information becomes available.

 

In many cases, an applicant may have started facility restoration before federal involvement. Even if the facility must undergo detailed review and analysis of alternate locations, FEMA will fund eligible restoration at the original location if the facility is functionally dependent on its floodplain location (e.g., bridges and flood-control facilities). Eligible restoration funding will also consider whether the project facilitates an open space use or the facility is an integral part of a larger network such as a road, which may be impractical or too costly to relocate. In such cases, FEMA must consider several factors: 1) examine the possible effects of not restoring the facility; 2) minimize floodplain/wetland impacts; and 3) determine that an overriding public need for the facility clearly outweighs the Executive Order requirements to avoid the floodplain/wetland and that the site is the only practical alternative. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and local officials will confirm to FEMA that proposed actions comply with all applicable Commonwealth, local floodplain management and wetland protection requirements.

 

FEMA intends to provide Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to mitigate future disaster damage. These projects may include construction of new facilities, modification of existing, undamaged facilities, relocation of facilities out of floodplains, demolition of structures or other types of projects to mitigate future disaster damage. In the course of developing project proposals, subsequent public notices will be published, if necessary, as more information becomes available.

 

The National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. Those actions or activities affecting buildings, structures, districts or objects 50 years or older, or actions and activities that affect archaeological sites or undisturbed ground will require further review to determine if the property is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (Register). If the property is determined to be eligible for the Register, and FEMA’s undertaking will adversely affect it, FEMA will provide additional public notices. For historic properties not adversely affected by FEMA’s undertaking, this will be the only public notice.

 

As noted, this may be the only public notice regarding the above-described actions under the Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant programs. Interested persons may obtain information about these actions or a specific project by writing to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region II, Caribbean Area Office, P.O. Box 70105, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-8105. Questions may also be communicated by written e-mail to FEMAR2COMMENT@fema.dhs.gov. Comments should be addressed to Federal Coordinating Officer Alex Amparo at the above address within 15 days of the date of this notice.

  

Deadline for Disaster Unemployment Assistance Extended to June 30

 

PONCE, Puerto Rico – Residents who lost their jobs because of the earthquakes and live or work in any of the 33 municipalities FEMA approved for assistance have an extension of time to file for unemployment benefits. Those who were self-employed also have more time to file for unemployment benefits.

 

The deadline to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance for the Puerto Rico earthquakes has been extended to June 30, 2020.

 

The municipalities eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance as a result of the earthquakes are:

Adjuntas, Aguada, Añasco, Arecibo, Barceloneta, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Coamo, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Moca, Morovis, Naranjito, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Germán, San Sebastián, Santa Isabel, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco.

 

This assistance is for those who were employed or self-employed and lost their jobs as a direct result of the disaster.

 

To be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, the applicant:

 

  • Must have applied for regular unemployment insurance benefits and obtained a determination of ineligibility;
  • Be unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the earthquakes;
  • Be available for work, unless he or she has suffered an injury as a direct result of the earthquakes;
  • Must not have declined a reasonable offer of employment.

In addition, unemployed persons, including the self-employed, who were living or working within the areas affected by the recent earthquakes, and who are now unemployed as a result of the major disaster, may be eligible for this assistance, if:

 

  • They have applied for and exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits (from any state in the United States) or do not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits;
  • They are unable to work or provide services due to physical damage or destruction of the workplace as a direct result of the earthquakes;
  • They are unable to reach their places of employment or self-employment, as they would have to travel through the earthquake-affected area, and are unable to reach their place of work because of the disaster;
  • They were going to start working for someone else or be self-employed, but they couldn't start because of the earthquakes;
  • They have become the main economic provider for their family due to the death of the previous head of household, which was caused by the earthquakes; or
  • They are unable to work or perform self-employment functions due to injuries caused by the earthquakes.

 

You can file a claim with the Puerto Rico Department of Labor by calling 787-945-7900 or

787-395-7328 until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, those who were affected by the earthquakes but are not currently living on the island can file by calling 787-945-7898.

 

All documentation must be submitted within 21 days of your initial filing. Visit https://www.trabajo.pr.gov/ for the required forms.

 

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program is funded by FEMA, overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor and managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources.

 

For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit the Government of Puerto Rico, www.fema.gov/disaster/4473 and Facebook: www.facebook.com/femapuertorico.

 

###

 

 

FEMA suspends Its In-Field Operations Until March 30

 

 

Effective immediately, FEMA will suspend, until March 30, in-field operations in support of the Puerto Rico earthquakes. FEMA personnel will continue to work on the island to support survivors.

 

FEMA will support the Governor of Puerto Rico, who issued an Executive Order Sunday shutting down all non-essential government and commercial operations on the island. For more information on the governor’s executive order, visit https://www.fortaleza.pr.gov.

 

Beginning today, FEMA closed all Disaster Recovery Centers and suspended all mitigation specialist visits to businesses like Home Depot and National Lumber.  Additionally, Disaster Survivor Assistance teams will not canvas municipalities approved for assistance, and housing site assessors are stopping all visits to earthquake-damaged homes.

 

FEMA is still on the island and committed to helping Puerto Rico residents whose homes and property were damaged by the Dec. 28 to Feb. 4 earthquakes, despite the pause in field operations.

 

Earthquake survivors can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Survivors may also apply for assistance or get information on the status of their FEMA applications at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

 

The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is April 15.

 

###

 

  • Free legal aid available to eligible Puerto Rico residents affected by the earthquakes that began in December. Click here for more information.

 

  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available for individuals who lost their jobs because of the earthquakes in southwest Puerto Rico and live or work in any of the 25 municipalities FEMA approved for assistance may be aligible to receive unemployment benefits. Click here for more information.

  • As of February 6, 2020: Nine more municipalities that were affected by the earthquakes in southwest Puerto Rico have been designated as eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. At the request of the Government of Puerto Rico, FEMA extended eligibility for Individual Assistance to Arecibo, Ciales, Hormigueros, Juana Díaz, Las Marías, Mayagüez, Morovis, Orocovis and Sabana Grande under the January 16 presidential disaster declaration.

Financial Assistance

Individual Assistance - Dollars Approved

$29,977,594.57

Total Individual & Households Program (IHP) - Dollars Approved*

$28,357,426.28

Total Housing Assistance (HA) - Dollars Approved*

$1,620,168.29

Total Other Needs Assistance (ONA) - Dollars Approved*

10,874

Total Individual Assistance (IA) - Applications Approved*

Public Assistance - Dollars Approved

$399,032.01

Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) - Dollars Obligated✝

* Dollars Approved: Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.
✝ Dollars Obligated: Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA's final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

Learn more about FEMA Disaster definitions. Information is updated every 24 hours.

Earthquake Recovery: By The Numbers

 

Here are the latest numbers on FEMA's ongoing earthquake response and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico as of February 13, 2020.

Numbers on FEMA's current assistance provided to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
<p>DR 4473 PR Earthquake Recovery By the Numbers</p> Download Original

 

Apply for Disaster Assistance

Homeowners and renters whose homes were damaged in the designated municipalities of Adjuntas, Arecibo, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Corozal, Guanica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marias, Maricao, Mayaguez, Morovis, Orocovis, Penuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, San German, San Sebastian, Utuado, Villalba, and Yauco may apply for FEMA disaster grants that may help pay for:

 • Temporary housing, including rental assistance and lodging expenses, if the home is unlivable.
 • Replacing uninsured personal property.
 • Medical, dental, funeral transportation, child care, moving, storage and other serious earthquake-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and charitable aid programs.

How to apply immediately for FEMA disaster grants:
 • Online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
 • By phone at 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Operators who speak Spanish are available by pressing 2. Telephone registration is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
 • Speak with a FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Team member near your home. DSA Teams are going door-to-door and are also visiting shelters and base camps.

 

If earthquake survivors have insurance and haven’t already done so, they should file a claim with their insurance company. FEMA cannot legally help with expenses covered by insurance or charitable aid programs.
In addition to insurance, federal and commonwealth assistance, there are several charitable aid programs that can help earthquake survivors get back on their feet.

Disaster Recovery Center Locations

Disaster Recovery Centers in Puerto Rico are temporarily closed until further notice.

Information will be posted as soon as possible.

Distaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) serve homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the recent earthquakes in Southwest Puerto Rico. Specialists from the government of Puerto Rico and municipalities, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, nongovernmental organizations and the local community, will be on hand to help survivors register for assistance, answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors. Services are provided in English and Spanish. All DRCs are temporarily suspended until further notice. For assistance call FEMA at 1(800) 621-3362 o 1 (800) 642-7585 (TTY) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov.

Guánica:
Coliseo Mariano “Tito” Rodriguez
PR-116R, Guánica, PR 00653
 

Guayanilla:
Estadio Municipal Luis A. “Pegui” Mercado Toro (parking lot)
PR-2, Guayanilla, PR 00656

Ponce:
Complejo Polideportivo Los Cabaos (Cancha de Baloncesto)
Avenida Los Caobos, Ponce PR 00716
 

Villalba
Área recreativa Héctor “Papo” Díaz
PR-561; Villalba, Puerto Rico 00766
 

Lajas:
Emergency Operations Center/Municipal Emergency Management Office Lajas Parking Lot
8 Calle Cementerio
Lajas, PR 00667
 

San Sebastián: 
Coliseum Luis Aymat Cardona
Room 2
PR-111 Km 18.0 Bo. Bahomamey
San Sebastián, PR 00685
 

Peñuelas:
Centro Comunal Alturas 2
Santo Domingo, Peñuelas, PR 00624
 

Utuado:
Coliseo Municipal Jorge “Peco” Gonzalez
Avenida Rolando Cabanas, Utuado, PR 00641

Yauco:
Coliseo Raul “Pipote” Oliveras
PR-128, Yauco, PR 00698
 

Corozal
Carretera 891 Int, Bo Pueblo
Calle Francisca "Paca" Martínez
Corozal, 00783, Puerto Rico
 
 
Maricao
Plaza Pública de Maricao
Calle Baldorioty intersección
con la calle José de Diego
Maricao, 00606, Puerto Rico
 

 

Adjuntas
Coliseo Rafael Llull Pérez,
Calle D, barrio Juan González
Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, 00601

 
 
Sábana Grande
Estadio Rafael D. Milán Padró
In the parking lot off of PR121
Sábana Grande, Puerto Rico 00637
 
 
San Germán
Antigua instalación de la Guardia Nacional
Carretera PR-360, intersección con PR-362
San Germán, Puerto Rico, 00683
 
 
Ciales
Centro de Convenciones
PR - 149 KM 18.1 Bo Pesas
Ciales, PR  00638
 
 

Get Home Repair Advice

FEMA provides free repair and rebuilding advice, information and tips on how to make homes damaged by earthquakes and hurricanes stronger and safer.

Mitigation outreach specialists are available Monday, March 2 to Saturday, March 7 in Cabo Rojo and Peñuelas at the following locations:

 

National Lumber

Carr. 100 km 5.8

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico 00623

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

 

National Lumber

Carr. 385 km 0.4 Bo. Parque Industrial

Peñuelas, Puerto Rico 00624

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

Help from FEMA and SBA Now Available for Earthquake Survivors

CAGUAS, Puerto RicoHomeowners and renters in the 25 southwest Puerto Rico municipalities that were approved for disaster assistance for the recent earthquakes may apply for assistance from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

The Dec. 28, 2019, earthquake and continuing aftershocks have affected Adjuntas, Arecibo, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Morovis, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, San Germán, San Sebastián, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco.

 

Residents in those municipalities are encouraged to apply for FEMA disaster grants, which can help pay for:

  • Temporary housing, including rental assistance, if the home is unlivable.
  • Replacing uninsured personal property.
  • Medical, dental, funeral expenses, transportation, child care, moving, storage and other serious earthquake-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, Government of Puerto Rico and charitable aid programs.

FEMA grants can also supplement what is available from the Government of Puerto Rico and therefore a separate application for the grant is required. You must apply with FEMA to be considered for FEMA assistance.

 

There are several ways to apply for FEMA disaster assistance:

  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov or DisasterAssistance.gov/es for Spanish.
  • By phone at 800-621-3362 (FEMA); or (TTY) 800-462-7585.  Multilingual operators are avialable. Press 2 for SPanish and press 3 for other languages. Telephone lines are open from 8 a.m. to midnight daily.
  • Use the FEMA Mobile App or en español for Spanish.
  • In person with FEMA disaster survivor assistance teams that are going door-to-door near your home and are also visiting shelters.
  • At a disaster recovery center. Visit www.FEMA.gov/DRC to find the closest one. Or text “DRC” and your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA).

American Sign Language interpreters are available, either in person or via a Video Remote Interpreter app. Just ask the FEMA representatives you meet.

If earthquake survivors have insurance and haven’t already done so, they should file a claim with their insurance company. FEMA cannot legally help with expenses covered by insurance or charitable aid programs.
 
Homeowners and renters also may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA to cover home losses not fully compensated by insurance. SBA loans are available to homeowners for up to $200,000 for a primary residence. Homeowners and renters may qualify for up to $40,000 for personal property. Businesses can apply for up to $2 million in loans for business property losses not fully insured. 
 
Next to insurance, an SBA low-interest disaster loan is the primary source of funds for property repairs and for replacing contents destroyed in the recent earthquakes.
 
How to apply for an SBA loan:

SBA opened two business recovery centers – in Ponce and Yauco – to help businesses affected by the earthquakes. SBA representatives provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the application. Small businesses and private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for physical and economic injury disaster loans. 
 
The SBA business recovery center locations: (Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.)
 
El Centro de Desarrollo de Pequeñas Empresas y Tecnología (SBTDC)
Inter-American University Campus
104 Turpeaux Industrial Park, Mercedita
Ponce, PR 00715

 

La Avenida Santiago Vivaldi y Calle Betances

La Placita, Mercado Abierto

Yauco, PR 00698

 

For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit the Government of Puerto Rico, www.fema.gov/disaster/4473, www.twitter.com/femaregion2 and Facebook: www.facebook.com/femapuertorico.

 

 

Crisis Counseling Approved for Six Municipalities in Southwest Puerto Rico

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico – Few things are as unsettling as having the earth move beneath your feet without warning. If you just can’t overcome feelings of unhappiness or unease, you are not alone. Help is at hand, and it’s free.

 

FEMA has approved crisis counseling assistance for residents of Guánica, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce, Utuado and Yauco.

 

FEMA is funding the crisis counseling program, which is administered by Proyecto Animate. The program’s goal is to help people and communities to recover from the effects of natural or man-made disasters through short-term intervention.

 

People commonly experience a wide range of emotions following a disaster. These feelings are normal and may last for many months after an event such as an earthquake. Common reactions may include:

  • Feeling tense or nervous, angry or irritable.
  • Crying often, feelings of persistent hopelessness.
  • Feeling numb.
  • Suffering sleep problems, being constantly tired.
  • Not feeling hungry or having stomach problems (such as nausea or cramps).
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions.

Everyone has these feelings once in a while. However, when these types of feelings and experiences disrupt daily living activities there is help available.

 

Counselors will be located in disaster recovery centers as well as in the base camps. Their goal is to help survivors understand their reactions, handle stress and review their post-disaster options. They will try to connect survivors with other individuals and agencies that can help their recovery progress.

 

Crisis counselors do not diagnose people nor do they keep records. They may conduct group sessions as well as individual sessions.

 

In addition to the counselors at the disaster recovery centers and base camps, counselors can be reached by calling Línea PAS at 800-981-0023 or (TTY) 800-672-7622, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit the Government of Puerto Rico, www.fema.gov/disaster/4473, www.twitter.com/femaregion2 and Facebook: www.facebook.com/femapuertorico.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Individuals who lost their jobs because of the earthquakes in southwest Puerto Rico and live or work in any of the 25 municipalities FEMA approved for assistance may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

The earthquakes that began Dec. 28, 2019, affected the municipalities of Adjuntas, Arecibo, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Morovis, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, San Germán, San Sebastián, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco.

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program is funded by FEMA, overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, and managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources (PRDOL).  DUA is intended for employees or self-employed individuals who lost their jobs as a direct result of a major disaster.

 

To be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, individuals must:

  • File a regular unemployment insurance claim and be determined ineligible for benefits.
  • Be unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the major disaster.
  • Be able and available for work, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster.
  • File an application for DUA within 30 days of the date of the announcement of the availability of DUA benefits.
  • Have not refused an offer of employment in a suitable position.

In addition, unemployed individuals, including self-employed, who were living or working in the affected areas at the time of the major disaster, and who are unemployed as a result of this major disaster may be eligible for these funds, if they:

  • Have applied for and exhausted all regular unemployment benefits from any state, or do not qualify for unemployment benefits; or
  • Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Are unable to reach their jobs or self-employed locations because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster; or
  • Were to commence employment or self-employment but were impeded to do so by the disaster; or
  •  Became the breadwinner or major support for their household because of the death of the head of household due to the disaster; or
  • Cannot work or perform services in self-employment because of injuries caused as direct results of the disaster.

To file a DUA claim, visit the Puerto Rico Department of Labor's Bureau of Employment Security (BES) unemployment local office nearest to your home or at the American Job Center (AJC) in your area.  Claims can be accepted in person from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  DUA Claims can also be filed by telephone until 4 p.m. each work day by calling at: 787-945-7900 or 787-395-7328.  Interstate DUA claims (for individuals who relocated out of state) may also be filed by phone at: 787-945-7898.

 

To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted to PRDOL within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed.  Required documentation includes your Social Security number, a copy of your most recent federal income tax return, check stubs, and/or documentation to support that you were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred.  The aforementioned documentation can be submitted in person at your nearest BES local office or AJC.
 

The deadline to file for DUA benefits timely is April 2, 2020.
 

Survivors may also search for employment and training opportunities through the AJC or by visiting CareerOneStop.org/LocalHelp.  

 

Required DUA forms and additional information that becomes available will be posted on Puerto Rico Department of Labor’s website at https://www.trabajo.pr.gov/ .

 

Coping After an Earthquake: Only you Can Determine your Healing Time

If earthquakes and aftershocks are causing you stress and anxiety, know that you are not alone.   While it is natural to withdraw and to keep feelings to yourself, connecting with others and talking about your feelings could make you feel better.

Some simple tips to help lessen anxiety include staying connected with your family and your closest friends. Check on your neighbors, especially people who may need help like seniors, parents with young children and people with disabilities.  

 

Remember to keep a healthy balance between your work, home, family and personal needs. Try incorporating exercise and rest into your daily routine and know that what you feel is okay.

 

Earthquakes and aftershock are expected to continue, which can be unsettling. If you are feeling anxious or stressed, call the Primera Ayuda Sicosocial at 800-981-0023 and meet with a crisis counselor. 

 

Disasters have a way of bringing people together so don’t hesitate to reach out to a neighbor, join a support group or call an old friend. Be patient with yourself, remember healing takes time and you determine the amount of time you need to heal.

Be Aware of Fraud and Other Scams

Disasters often bring communities together but con artists, identity thieves and other criminals may target survivors. The most common types of post-disaster fraud include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, fake offers of municipal or federal aid and charging for free services.
Scam attempts can be made over the phone, by mail or email, through the internet, or in person. It is important to remain alert, ask questions and always ask for identification when someone claims to represent FEMA or another government agency. Con artists are creative and resourceful. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it should be questioned.

Here are some tips to safeguard against fraud:

  • Ask to see ID badges. All FEMA representatives carry an identification badge with a photograph. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity.
  • Keep your FEMA registration number safe. This number is your key to your application information. Do not share it with others. FEMA housing inspectors will ask for identification to verify your identity but will already have your registration number.
  • Safeguard personal information. FEMA representatives will ask for social security and bank account numbers when you register and may ask for it after registration. Be cautious when giving this information to others who ask for it. Scam artists may pose as government officials, aid workers, or insurance company employees.
  • Federal workers never ask for a fee or accept money. FEMA staff never charge for disaster assistance, inspections, or help completing applications.
FEMA housing inspectors verify damage, they do not make repairs, recommend any contractor or determine if a home is safe to re-enter.

You can take these steps to protect against fraud:

• Before any work begins, get a written contract detailing all work to be performed, the costs, a projected completion date and how to negotiate changes and settle disputes.
• Use a licensed and bonded contractor.
• Take a picture of your contractor, their vehicle and license plate.
• Take a picture of the contractor’s business card and driver’s license.
• Don’t offer personal financial information over the phone. Know who you are dealing with and always ask for identification.
• Watch out for middlemen who promise you will receive disaster grants or money, especially if they ask for an upfront payment.
 
If you suspect anyone of fraudulent activities, call the free FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 available 24-hours a day. Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement agencies.

Preliminary Damage Assessment Report

PDA Report; FEMA-4473-DR

Last Updated: 2020-02-27 05:00