New York residents affected by Hurricane Sandy may now call or go online to register for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and federal officials have announced.
"Registering is an important way to help get you on the path to a variety of recovery programs," said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael F. Byrne. "We're urging people with hurricane-related damages in federally declared disaster areas to apply as soon as possible."
The major federal disaster declaration, signed by President Obama on Oct. 30, offers individual assistance in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.
Disaster survivors have several ways to apply.
•Individuals can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- and hearing-impaired. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362.
•Another option is to register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via Web-enabled phone or tablet at m.fema.gov. For devices with the Android operating system, a FEMA App can be downloaded at market.android.com/details?id=gov.fema.mobile.android.
The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
When applying for aid, you will receive a nine-digit registration number that can be used for reference when corresponding with FEMA.
It is helpful to have the following information handy:
•Current telephone number;
•Address at the time of the disaster and current address;
•Social Security number, if available;
•A general list of damages and losses;
•If insured, the name of insurance company, agent and policy number; and
•Bank routing number for any direct deposit.
Within a few days after registering, eligible applicants will be telephoned to make an appointment to have their damaged property inspected. The inspectors, who are FEMA contractors and carry identification badges, visit to make a record of damage. They do not make a determination regarding assistance. There is no cost for the inspection.
All applicants will receive a letter from FEMA regarding the status of their requests for federal assistance. Some will also receive an application for a low-interest disaster recovery loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Anyone who has questions about the letter from FEMA should call the helpline (1-800-621-3362, or TTY at 1-800-462-7585).
Those who receive an application packet from the SBA should complete and submit the forms. No one is required to accept a loan, but submitting the application may open the door to additional FEMA grants.
FEMA's mission is to support citizens and first responders to ensure that, as a nation, we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.