Federal disaster aid is available to area residents and business owners who incurred damage from Superstorm Sandy this week.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a statement Tuesday summarizing aid programs available to residents under a major disaster declaration that President Obama issue for New York State on Oct. 27. This action by the commander-in-chief means federal disaster funding is available to affected individuals in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Bronx, Kings, New York and Richmond counties.
FEMA said to begin the disaster application process, register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-462-7585. The agency said “approved mitigation projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.”
FEMA said assistance for affected individuals and families can include:
- Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
- Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.
- Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
- Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.
- Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.
- Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million.
- Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.
- Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans benefits and social security matters.