This guide provides answers and information on resources for the most-commonly asked questions and issues coming up during the Sandy recovery process.
FEMA Appeals and other Disaster Assistance
If you already applied for FEMA assistance and were either denied or given less payment than you claimed for, this online form helps you fill out an appeal that you can print out and file with FEMA. Click here to use the Online FEMA Appeal form. This form also has a very useful Q&A page to help you understand the FEMA appeal process: FEMA Appeal Process
Brooklyn Jubilee, a member of NY Disaster Interfaith Services serving Coney Island, posed a series of questions to FEMA related to ongoing problems experienced by Sandy victim members of the Coney Island community. FEMA’s in-house counsel responded in writing. This is FEMA’s responses.
FEMA has also approved an extension to the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which allows eligible survivors from Hurricane Sandy who cannot return to their homes to stay in participating hotels. The new checkout date for those in the TSA program is September 30, 2013. Click here to read more about this. You can also click here to download the application for Continued Temporary Housing Assistance.
Even though the deadline has passed, FEMA, SBA, and other partners are still in New York providing help. The following services are still available for you:
- Applicants may call FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362 (Voice, 7-1-1/Relay) or TTY 800-462-7585 to update FEMA about your situation or ask questions. The line is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, seven days a week until further notice.
- The FEMA helpline provides speakers in more than 40 languages to answer your questions, update your contact information or check on the status of your application. Call 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585 and choose Option 2 for Spanish or Option 3 for other languages.
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
SBA is available to answer questions about low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters or businesses.
- The SBA Disaster Customer Service Center number is 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
- SBA assistance is also available by sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or by visiting sba.gov.
- Visit a Disaster Loan Outreach Center or a Business Recovery Center. To find the nearest center and for application status updates, call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
** PLEASE NOTE: If you turn down a Small Business Association loan you will not be penalized and be given a lesser amount of grant to rebuild after Sandy. All you have to do is document why you declined the loan. For example, you can provide documentation which outlines your current debt and your desire to not increase your debt with another loan. Read more here.
Visit New York Hurricane Sandy Disaster Recovery Resources for up-to date information on disaster resources as well as answers to commonly asked questions such as: (1) What to do if you have not heard back regarding any disaster assistance?, (2) What to do if you are still waiting for your flood insurance settlement?; and more.
Still Struggling Trying to Figure Out Disaster Assistance and Benefits You May Qualify For? Apply for a Disaster Case Manager to Help You!
An updated October 2013 Sandy Disaster Recovery Resources Guide is also available for download here.
Finally, FEMA urges all victims who have received money to keep the receipts or bills for which the money was used for three years. Click here to read more.
Visit the New York Disaster Interfaith Service Sandy Recover Guide for an overview of several cash assistance programs available. One of these programs is the Governor Cuomo’s Disaster Homeownership Repair and Rebuilding Fund which can provide financial assistance with home repairs and other home issues. To see if you qualify call their 1-855-NYS-SANDY hotline.
Modest Needs.org also provides three basic grant types to individual applicants. While all of our grant programs are designed to bolster the self-sufficiency of low-income individuals and families, the types of grants we make under each of these programs vary greatly. Click here to read about their eligibility and how to apply.
NY Sandy Victims Still Have to Watch Out for Contractor and Mortgage Scams. The Center for NYC Neighborhoods created these Public Service Announcements to warn people dealing with the aftermath of Sandy about these scam artists. Click here to see videos.
Sandy Insurance Issues
In the last few weeks, the New York State Department of Financial Services has announced investigations and new regulations about insurance company practices following Sandy. Click here to read about these new protections available to you and where to go for help: New York Sandy Insurance Problems.
For more help in NYC you can also call the City Bar Legal Hotline to speak at 212-626-7383.
For information on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), read this guide.
Flood insurance could lead to a lot of questions, Touro Law Clinic offers a Flood Victims FAQ for assistance.
NOTE: You have until 4/28/14 to file critical paperwork related to your flood insurance settlements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Oct. 1 that it has extended the deadline for filing proof-of-loss claims for a second time. The new deadline is April 28, 2014. The Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) allows homeowners 60 days from the date of loss to file proof-of-loss claims. On Nov. 9, 2012, the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration first extended the filing deadline to one year from the date of loss. A Proof of Loss is a form used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under their policy, which must then be signed and sworn to, and submitted with supporting documentation. The policy covers structures and any personal property contained within that was damaged or destroyed by floodwaters.
This checklist 1 developed by Touro TLC HEART covers:
- Notices and related requirements for upcoming insurance deadlines concerning “replacement cost value,” or “RCV.”
- Notice of loss and damage that might be covered by flood or homeowner policies.
- How to get your policy, and how to request your claims file.
- Sample language for notices to insurers, and other tips, based on how we have advised our clients.
Touro TLC HEART recently developed another checklist which provides practical and plain-English information focusing on the flood insurance proof of loss deadline and the flood insurance statute of limitations deadline as well as important tips and information. Click here to download checklist 2.
For insurance questions generally, please contact Touro Law Center’s HEART Hotline for Sandy victims at (631) 761-7198.
NY Insurance Reg 64 requires inspection of damaged property due to Sandy within 6 business days, and insurers have 15 days to make a decision on the claim. Click here to read about how this new law protects you when your insurance company is dragging their feet.
Click here for more information on how to file a complaint against your insurance company: Are you having problems with your insurance company and your Sandy-related claims? Don’t wait to file a complaint!
III. Sandy Legal Aid NYC
There are still NYC legal assistance groups providing free legal clinics or:
- LawHelpNY.org includes a list of free legal aid providers in NYC working on Sandy issues
- If you live in Long Island contact Touro Law Center – Hurricane Emergency Assistance and Referral Team (TLC-HEART) at (631) 761-7198 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions related to disaster aid, appeals, insurance, small business issues, housing, or employment matters – check out the calendar below to learn about legal clinics that may be going on in your area.
IV. Housing Issues
NYC.gov has created a Housing Recovery Portal that allows individuals and families displaced from their homes to get information about housing. On this site, you can create an account to learn about short and long-term housing options. You can also call the Housing Recovery Desk at 212-863-5710 for more info.
FEMA has also approved an extension to the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which allows eligible survivors from Hurricane Sandy who cannot return to their homes to stay in participating hotels. The new checkout date for those in the TSA program is October 31, 2013. Click here to read more about this.
To stay on top of upcoming housing forums in NYC that provide information on housing resources, click here.
- The Neighborhood Revitalization NYC (NRNYC) has a free Mold Treatment Program available for residents of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island who qualify and are struggling with mold left behind by the storm. Click here to find out if you qualify and how you can apply. This information is also available in Spanish and Russian.
- The NYC Build it Back Program is still going, but please note that the registration is October 31. Click here for information on how to register.
- However, if you’re a tenant in NYC that needs repairs to your apartment or have other questions, this Tenants’ Hurricane Survival Guide provides answers to commonly-asked questions regarding tenant housing issues after Hurricane Sandy.
- New York State’s Housing Recovery Program will fully compensate homeowners affected by Sandy, Irene and Lee for repair costs of damage due to “earth movement” not currently covered in the National Flood Insurance Program. For more information about this and other assistance available from the state, call 1-855-697-7263 or visit www.stormrecovery.ny.gov.
- Governor Cuomo’s Disaster Homeownership Repair and Rebuilding Fund can help homeowners whose property was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Homeowners who have already qualified for FEMA housing assistance grants can now also obtain up to an additional $10,000. Click here to find out how you can apply.
Here is a collection of the most common home repair issues post-Sandy:
The New York Disaster Interfaith Service Sandy Recovery page also includes a wealth of housing resources and information.
Tenants’ Hurricane Survival Guide provides an overview of the rights of tenants in damaged or destroyed properties and provides answers to commonly-asked questions. Also visit LawHelpNY’s section on Tenants affected by Hurricane Sandy, for a collection of “know your rights” resources for tenants.
If you are disabled and residing in temporary housing that does not meet your accessibility needs, click here. For more information on housing help for people with disabilities, read Post-Sandy Housing Resources for Persons with Disabilities.
Each year, you are mailed a Notice of Property Value (NOPV) in January that reflects the status of your property. If Hurricane Sandy destroyed your property or resulted in severe exterior damage, the notice you received this January should take into account your property’s hurricane damage. This resource provides info on how to report property damage to accurately display your property value.
For information on tax relief, deductions, and assistance available to individuals, families, nonprofits, charities, and small-businesses affected by Sandy read our short Sandy tax relief guide.
If you lost your property or if it sustained property damages due to Sandy, you may qualify for property tax relief. Click here to find out if you qualify and how to apply.
VI. Assistance for Small Businesses and Community Groups
The deadline to return applications for economic injury applications is July 31, 2013. The Business Recovery Centers in Brooklyn and Long Island are still open for one-on-one assistance:
Kings Co. IKEA – Brooklyn 1 Beard Street (Coney Island Room) Brooklyn, NY 11231. Hours: Mon – Sun, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Nassau Co. Farmingdale State College SBDC Training Center 2350 Broad Hollow Rd Farmingdale, NY 11735. Hours: Mon – Fri, 9 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sat and Sun, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- The New York City Economic Development Corporation is coordinating resources for businesses that have been affected by the storm, including emergency loans, short-term office space for displaced businesses and other services. Click here for a list of resources available and how you can apply.
- NYC.gov has a page dedicated to Hurricane Sandy Business Recovery Information with an extensive list of assistance available to help business and nonprofits recover from the storm. Click here to see the list of services/assistance being offered.
- They have produced in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian which outline all the available NYC assistance for business owners:
- Bloomberg has passed an executive order waiving fees for businesses recovering from Sandy. Click here to read this notice.
- If you live in Long Island contact Touro Law Center – Hurricane Emergency Assistance and Referral Team (TLC-HEART) at (631) 761-7198 or email email@example.com
- Nassau County has established a storm assistance program for small businesses. Eligible firms may receive up to $99,000 to be used toward recovery efforts through the Nassau IDA’s Local Enterprise Assistance and Development Services Program. The program provides eligible small businesses with help through a sales tax exemption on any furniture, fixtures, equipment and material purchased for repair and reconstruction. For information, contact the Nassau County IDA at (516) 571-1745 or by email at Leads@nassauida.org.
- Suffolk County is offering recovery assistance through the Department of Labor and Department of Economic Development and Planning. The county is hosting Small Business Assistance Recovery Centers daily at labor department offices at the H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and at the Suffolk County Department of Labor in Riverhead from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For information, call (631) 853-6600.
The National Grid Program provides assistance with repairs for small-businesses or multi-family residences. You can read more about this program here. You can also call their hotline at 1-855-496-9359 for more information.
If you are experiencing continuous stress and mental health issues because of the consequences of Hurricane Sandy, click here for tips and resources available for New Yorkers.
You can also click here to find out what agencies in NYC are providing disaster case management assistance.
Click here for a collection of important hotlines to help you with different post-Sandy recovery issues: Disaster Assistance New York Hotlines