FEMA and State Officials Release Advice on How to Accelerate Disaster Assistance


By SÍLE MOLONEY

DUCKS MOVE ALONG a water trail usually packed with joggers, bikes, and park goers when dry in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on Thursday, September 2, 2021. Lake Van Cortlandt overflowed onto nearby hiking trails due to the remains of Hurricane Ida. over seven inches of rain in the Bronx, according to a WABC-TV report.
Photo by José A. Giralt

State officials, as well as those of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who are helping New Yorkers recover from the remnants of Hurricane Ida shared some tips on how to speed up receipt of disaster assistance, as follows:

  • Online registration is the fastest way to access FEMA Support. Download the FEMA app or visit disastreassistance.gov. Not only can you register here, but you can also check the status of your application, download requested documents, and access downloadable FEMA brochures and other help.
  • You can also register by phone by calling 800-621-3362. People with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY should call 800-462-7585 directly. Those using 711 or the Video Relay Service (VRS) can call 800-621-3362. These toll-free numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice.

Officials said applicants should also have the following:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted;
  • Your address at the time of the loss and the address where you currently reside;
  • Your social security number, if available;
  • A general list of damages and losses.

In addition, they offered the following recommendations:

  • If insured, the insurance policy number or the name of the agent and company.
  • Remember, registering with volunteer organizations does not register you with FEMA.
  • You must register for any uninsured and underinsured damage or loss resulting from storm and flooding. Your insurance coverage may not cover everything. However, FEMA disaster assistance, by law, cannot duplicate insurance coverage.
  • Disaster assistance covers a wide range of losses. In addition to rental assistance and home repair assistance, disaster losses include damaged or lost personal property which can include anything from a wheelchair to a large household appliance.
  • Keep in touch and stick to your appointments after signing up for disaster assistance. A FEMA inspector will make an appointment to visit your home. Do everything possible to be at the damaged property for the visit and call if you need to change the appointment
  • Return all forms promptly. After registering, you may receive an application to complete a low interest loan application from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Fill it out and return the forms quickly or visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) for SBA assistance. Even if you are not interested in a loan, complete the loan file and return it. Completing the SBA application is a necessary step to be considered for other forms of disaster assistance; storm victims are not required to take an SBA loan. If referred, applicants can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) through the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.
  • If you have any questions after registering you can review your case online or visit a disaster recovery center to meet in person with recovery specialists. If you have questions about disaster assistance, need help completing an SBA loan, want to check the status of your application, or need information on how to build better and stronger you can speak with recovery specialists in a DRC.

Meanwhile, on Saturday September 11, 2021, Deanne Criswell, 12th FEMA administrator since 04/26/2021, and his colleagues, took the time to reflect on the relief work carried out by their colleagues twenty years ago on September 11.


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