Superstorm Sandy survivors, who have changed their minds about staying in storm-damaged homes while repairs are underway, may still be able to get federal housing help.
Initially, thousands of state residents said they would not relocate while repairs were being made to their homes and apartments, according to a news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. So, those residents were ineligible for FEMA temporary housing assistance, the agency said. But residents who have changed their minds about temporary relocation, may still be able to get help, the agency said.
According to the news release:
- If it has been less than 30 days since the receipt of a FEMA determination letter, call 800-621-3362. Tell FEMA workers that your housing situation has changed and request temporary housing assistance.
- If it has been more than 30 days since the receipt of the FEMA determination letter, you must reply in writing. Send a letter, stating that you want to change your earlier response, explain how your circumstances have changed and request temporary housing assistance.
Survivors can follow up on previous applications online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or by web-enabled mobile device at m.FEMA.gov. By phone or 711/VRS, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585.
Getting disaster aid with insufficient damage
Superstorm Sandy survivors have many options for obtaining disaster assistance even if they receive a letter stating they have insufficient damage, officials said.
The survivor has three key options after receiving such a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said public information officer Chris McKniff in a statement:
-Appeal: Filing an appeal of an inspector's decision on habitability requires verifiable documentation to show there was disaster-caused damage that rendered the house uninhabitable. Appeal letters must be postmarked within 60 days after the date of the decision letter.
-Apply: Apply for a low-interest, long term disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Loans are the main form of disaster assistance to households, and SBA representatives will work with survivors to find affordable terms. Applying for an SBA loan also preserves a survivor's potential eligibility for other forms of assistance, such as grants for replacing personal property losses.
-Find Help: Get volunteer help. The path forward can also lead to the dozens of private, non-profit groups that have pitched in to help out in the response to and recovery from superstorm Sandy. Some groups provide volunteers to help out with minor repairs to real estate.
Always read the FEMA letter carefully and follow the instructions. If there are any questions or if an insurance settlement does not cover all costs, call the FEMA Helpline 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. The Helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit a Disaster Recovery Center for one-on-one assistance.
Survivors should also refer to pages 20-26 of the booklet, "Help after a Disaster: Applicant's Guide to the Individuals and Households Program," which is mailed to everyone who registers with FEMA. This guide explains all possible reasons for denial of assistance.
Sandy survivors should submit insurance settlement information
Superstorm Sandy survivors who registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and indicated they had insurance coverage should send in their insurance settlement information as soon as they receive it, officials said.
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