FEMA extends deadline to apply for federal assistance

A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at Southbridge Towers.(Photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at Southbridge Towers. (Photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | New Yorkers who haven’t yet filed with FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) for grants or loans to help recover from Sandy damage now have an extra month in which to file. The deadline, previously Feb. 27, has been extended for 13 counties in New York State to March 29, 2013.

This is also the new deadline to complete and return applications for low-interest disaster loans to the U.S. Small Business Administration (S.B.A.).

The designated counties are the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

FEMA advises people living in these counties to register for disaster aid even if they have insurance. Insurance coverage may not be sufficient or there may be additional damage that was not immediately apparent.

Federal grants via FEMA may help to cover such disaster-related expenses as rent for those displaced by Sandy, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious needs not covered by insurance.

The S.B.A. may extend low-interest loans for up to $200,000 to repair or replace a storm-damaged primary residence. Homeowners and renters may be eligible for up to $40,000 to replace loss of personal property. Businesses and private non-profits may be eligible to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace property damaged by Sandy.

Individuals can register with FEMA online at www.disasterassistance.gov or with any web-enabled mobile device, tablet or smartphone at fema.gov. Follow the link to “Apply Online for FEMA Assistance.”

Applicants can also register by phone by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362 or TTY, 800-462-7585. The line is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. until further notice.

FEMA representatives at Disaster Recovery Centers can help with the application process, check the status of an application and explain available disaster assistance programs. To find the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, go to www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or text DRC and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) and a text message will be sent back with the address.

SBA loan applications can be completed online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

All New York State Disaster Recovery Centers have S.B.A. representatives on hand to issue or accept low-interest disaster loan applications and to answer questions. This information and help are also available at S.B.A. business recovery centers and Disaster Loan Outreach Centers. To locate the nearest center, go to www.sba.gov or call 800-659-2955 or TTY, 800-877-8339.

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