Federal Disaster Recovery – You May Qualify

I want to first of all express my sincere condolences to all the victims of Hurricane Sandy. My prayers are for the families who have been affected and those who are working tirelessly to help those in need. To all the first- responders, National Guard, Police, Fire Fighters, volunteers and elected officials.

Here is a bit of information that you can find in the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) website. Many of you might not realize that there is disaster recovery assistance available to you. That is Individuals and businesses.

I will attempt to summarize what assistance is available.

What is Disaster Assistance?
FEMA defines Disaster Assistance as financial or direct assistance to individuals and families whose property has been damaged or destroyed as a result of a federally-declared disaster, and whose losses are not covered by insurance. It is meant to help you with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster.
Some of the funds are available through the Individuals and Households Program, a bulk of it comes from the Federal Government in the form of loans administered by the Small Business Administration.

Here is a list of some of the Disaster Assistance available from FEMA in the different areas:

Housing Needs

  • Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Financial assistance may be available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.
  • Repair: Financial assistance may be available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
  • Replacement: Financial assistance may be available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
  • Permanent or Semi-Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or other locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.

 Other than Housing Needs

Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes:

  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses.
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.
  • Clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies).
  • Fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas).
  • Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, dehumidifier).
  • Disaster-related damage to a vehicle.
  • Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster-related repairs are being made to the home).
  • Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.
  • Other expenses that are authorized by law.

There is also the availability of Disaster Loans.

SBA (Small Business Administration) provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

I hope this is helpful information. Please take stock of your losses and the more prove of losses you have, the smoothest the process.

If you want to discuss this topic or others, please call me at 973-390-2926 or via email anibal@anibalalcantarajr.com