As New Jersey continues its reconstruction following Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hoping a recently released fact sheet will answer questions and help alleviate some concerns for residents still in the process of recovery.
Among the tidbits offered by FEMA are ways to contact the agency - there are a number of methods - when the registration deadline is set to expire - that's currently April 1, though it's been extended several times so far - and just who is eligible to apply for aid - both renters and homeowners.
The facts presented by FEMA also serve to dispel some rumors agency officials said often pop up during conversations with residents. Among the questions FEMA often receives are if income determines eligibility and whether or not aid affects other government assistance programs, like Social Security. In both instances, the answer is no.
Below are facts Hurricane Sandy survivors in New Jersey should know:
- There are three ways to reach the Federal Emergency Management Agency in New Jersey:
- Visit online at DisasterAssistance.gov or m.fema.gov with a smartphone.
- Call 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.
- Visit one of nine disaster recovery centers. Locations can be found by visiting FEMA.gov/DRC.
- Survivors should apply for federal disaster assistance even if they have insurance. Assistance may pay for repairs and temporary housing that insurance doesn’t cover.
- The deadline to register with FEMA and return completed SBA loan applications is Monday, April 1.
- Federal disaster assistance can include rental assistance, grants to replace personal property or low-interest disaster home loans from the Small Business Administration.
- Renters and homeowners can apply.
- Only a survivor whose primary residence was damaged and was living in it at the time of the storm is eligible to receive assistance for housing needs.
- FEMA disaster assistance is not income sensitive. Income does not affect eligibility.
- FEMA disaster assistance does not affect other government programs like Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or pensions.
- Accepting disaster assistance does not keep other survivors from receiving it.
- Disaster assistance from FEMA is not taxable.
- Non U.S. citizens may be eligible for FEMA assistance if they are lawful permanent residents or otherwise have legal status.
- Registering with the American Red Cross or calling 2-1-1 is not the same as registering with FEMA. Survivors must register with FEMA to be considered for federal disaster assistance.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster home loans to homeowners and renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged property. SBA also offers loans to businesses to repair and replace disaster-damaged property and offers economic injury disaster loans to assist with working capital.
- The SBA can be contacted by calling 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339 or email@example.com.
- Survivors who have questions about flood insurance claims and the appeals process can call 888-379-9531.
- Visit Region2Coastal.com for information about advisory base flood elevations.