News Column

FEMA Assistance Available for NJ Sandy Victims

Nov. 1, 2012

Sarah Watson, The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.

fema

Residents and business owners in Cape May, Atlantic and Ocean counties that had damage from Hurricane Sandy are eligible to apply for numerous types of federal assistance to help them recover.

Those affected can apply immediately for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance. However, FEMA assistance is only provided if the damage is not covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policies and only provides assistance if the property is your primary residence. Damage that does not affect safety, cleanliness or functionality of your home or apartment is not covered.

To register go to www.disasterassistance.gov or, if you are using a mobile phone, m.fema.gov. You may also register by calling 800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Disaster representative centers likely will be set up as the recovery process advances.

The phone numbers will operate 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Saturday until further notice.

When you apply, be prepared to give your basic information about yourself, all information regarding any insurance policies you have and any other information to help prove your losses.

Here's what may or may not be covered:

--Rent money for temporary housing for those who have houses that are deemed uninhabitable or total losses. Financial assistance may be provided for up to three months if you own your own home and at least one month if you are a renter. Assistance is only provided if the residence damaged or destroyed is your primary residence. Financial assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period.

--Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items needed to make damaged dwellings safe, clean and functional. Aid only covers items and costs not covered by homeowners or renters insurance.

--Grants to replace personal property to help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation or other major disaster-related needs. These needs must not already be covered by insurance or other federal, state or charitable aid. FEMA pays 75 percent of the total cost and New Jersey pays 25 percent.

--FEMA will cover unemployment payments for up to 26 weeks if workers temporarily lose their job due to Sandy's damage and for those workers who do not qualify for state benefits, such as if you are self-employed.

--FEMA will provide low-interest loans to cover residential losses that are not fully paid for through property insurance. Loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners for their primary residence and up to $40,000 for personal property for homeowners and renters.

--Business owners can obtain as much as $2 million in loans for business property losses that are not fully covered by insurance. Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, nonprofit groups of all sizes that have disaster-related cash flow problems and need money for working property to recover from the disaster.

--Loans of as much as $500,000 are available to farmers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding their primary residence.

--Crisis counseling

--Income tax assistance for filing casualty losses

--Legal advice, veteran benefit advice and social security advice as long as the advice is related to the disaster

Other aid in Atlantic County:

Staff in the Atlantic County offices of the Department of Family and Community Development have been relocated to two locations until further notice to provide NJ SNAP, TANF, GA and Medicaid. The new locations include the Atlantic County One Stop Career Center at 2 S. Main St., Pleasantville, and 310 S. Bellvue Ave., Hammonton. Please call 609-485-0052 or 609-567-3200 for information.



Source: (c)2012 The Press of Atlantic City (Pleasantville, N.J.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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