Disaster Help Hotlines and Links - My9 New Jersey

Disaster Help Hotline and Links

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MY9TV.COM-See below for information, hotlines and links on how to get help after Hurricane Sandy.

 

PET RESCUE HOTLINE – 24-HOUR RESCUE FOR PETS LEFT BEHIND WHEN OWNERS EVACUATED FOR SANDY!!!!

The Christie Administration today announced the establishment of a hotline for Hurricane Sandy victims who left their pets behind when evacuating their homes in advance of the storm.  The phone number to call is 1-855-407-4787 (1-855-407-HSUS).

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has been working with the state Office of Emergency Management, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help dogs, cats and other pets and owners in need.

There have been reports of residents separated from their animals during the evacuation of their homes as Hurricane Sandy approached.  To minimize the risk of these residents trying to return to their homes in dangerous situations to retrieve their pets, a system has been established to make official animal rescue personnel available to assist these residents.

 Those who call the hotline will be asked for information to assist animal rescue teams in locating the animals and bringing them safely to a shelter.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day. 

             FEMA AND OTHER GOVT ASSISTANCE LINKS AND INFORMATION

 BEST website to explain FEMA assistance:

             http://www.fema.gov/pdf/assistance/process/help_after_disaster_english.pdf

 

FEMA

 IHP -- Individuals and Households Program (NOT for business damages!) 

  Disaster Assistance -- Persons/families whose property is damaged or destroyed, and whose losses

are NOT covered by insurance.  Be advised:  FEMA aid is NOT intended to restore your property to its

condition before Sandy.  MOST assistance comes in form of loans from Small Business Administration.

  You can apply to FEMA in one of three ways:

          Online: DisasterAssistance.gov <http://www.disasterassistance.gov>

          Smartphone: m.fema.gov <http://www.m.fema.gov>

          Phone: 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585 for people with speech or hearing disabilities)

 

FEMA CAN HELP WITH HOUSING NEEDS

A)   Temporary Housing – financial assistance to rent a place to stay – see online FEMA Housing Portal  

   http://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm

B)   Housing Repair – financial help to repair damages to primary residences that are NOT covered by reg insurance.

C)   Housing Replacment – Money to help replace a home destroyed by disaster

D)   Other Needs – These include medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and

    Storage.

PROCESS

BEFORE YOU APPLY - GATHER THIS INFO:  1)  Your social security number.  2) Current and pre-disaster

addresses.  3)  A phone number where you can be reached.  4)  Insurance information.  5) Total household annual

income.  6) A routing and account number from your bank (you can find this on a check) - IF you want

assistance finds deposited directly into your bank account.  7)  A description of your Sandy losses.

8)  Directions to your damaged property.

 

WHEN YOU APPLY - YOU WILL GET A FEMA APPLICATION NUMBER.  WRITE THIS

NUMBER DOWN AND DO NOT LOSE IT

 

CIVIL RIGHTS INFO -- The Federal Stafford Act protects people from discrimination based on:  race, color,

nationality, sex, age, or economic status in ALL DISASTER RELIEF PROGRAMS -- public and private.

 

  WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

If you have no appropriate insurance - an inspector will call you to schedule an appointment

to visit your property.  They could call the next day -- but usually call no later than 10 days from your

application.  The inspector has a PHOTO ID.  (You can clean up before the inspector arrives -

but TAKE PHOTOS of ALL DAMAGES, and KEEP RECEIPTS for ALL EXPENSES!!)

THERE IS NO FEE FOR THIS INSPECTION!!!

The inspector will ask for your identification, and proof of property ownership (for homeowners) and

occupancy.  They'll ask you to sign a form authorizing FEMA to certify your info is correct. 

   INSPECTORS FILE THE REPORT - BUT THEY DO NOT DETERMINE YOUR ELIGIBILITY!

In about ten days - you'll get a LETTER -- telling you how/if FEMA can help. 

   IF you are eligible -- you'll get a check or deposit into your account.  Use the money

as described in the letter.

  If you are NOT eligible -- they'll tell you why.  You CAN appeal. 

  If they refer you to the SBA -- you'll get an application.

 

REASONS WHY FEMA MAY TURN DOWN YOUR APPLICATION:

 

You have other housing available. 

Damage occurred to a secondary or vacation home.

Your expenses resulted from evacuating -- but you could return immediately after the incident.

You refused assistance from your insurers.

Your ONLY losses are business losses.

Your damaged home is in a designated flood hazard area -- but your town doesnt participate

   in the National Flood Insurance Program.  (You might still qualify for "Other Needs" assistance,

like medical, dental, water wells and septic systems, or funerals.

 

OTHER NEEDS ALSO INCLUDE:

Clothing, furnishings and appliances, tools, computers, fuel, clean-up items like shop-vacs or

dehumidifiers, a vehicle damaged by the disaster, moving and storage.

   If you dont use the money  - you MAY have to give it back!!

  It's usuallt limited to 18 months after the disaster declaration.

  Does NOT have to be repaid.

  IsTAX-FREE - and doesn't count as income for determining welfare eligibility, etc.

  IS EXEMPT FROM GARNISHMENT, LEVY, SEIZURE.

 

PART TWO --

FEMA

MITIGATION MEASURES -- REBUILDING and REPAiRING

 

You can reduce the RISK of future damage and losses -- like,

    1)  raising major appliances (washer/dryer, water heater etc) higher off the ground. 

    2)  raise or relocate an electrical panel

    3)  anchor a fuel storage tank

    4)  level and anchor a mobile home

 

EXTRA ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR SPECIAL GROUPS  

  AGING SERVICES -- transportation, meals, home care etc for elderly impacted by Sandy)

  FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS -- Banks that are members of the FDIC (Fed Deposit Insurance Corp)

   FRS (Federal Reserve System) or FHLBB (Fed Home Loan Bank Board) may permit

  early withdrawal of time deposits -- without penalty.

CALL YOUR BANK to see if they have gotten a waiver from their regulatory agency!

 

*********SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION LOANS-- **********************

These loans are available to businesses to repair or replace destroyed or damaged business

facilities, inventory, machinery or equipment.  The maximum loan:  $1.5 MILLION. 

If you have been referred to this program - you will get an application in the mail.  For more help

go to www.sba.gov

 

OTHER AVAILABLE ASSISTANCE

Crisis Counseling

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Financial Counseling

Legal Services

Social Security - expedite delivery of checks delayed by the disaster and help

in applying for disability and/or survivor benefits

FEDERAL TAX ASSISTANCE

Federal tax laws allow the IRS to grant relief to taxpayers who are victims of

Presidentially declared disaster.  Relief includes:  postponing tax deadlines

so you have extra time to file and pay before getting penalized; or reducing

interest for extensions you've already gotten.

  ALSO -- disaster relief is NOT TAXABLE.  IRS might let you deduct casualty

losses for damage to home, personal property, and household goods that are NOT

covered by insurance. 

 

 

The Christie Administration today announced the establishment of a hotline for Hurricane Sandy victims who left their pets behind when evacuating their homes in advance of the storm.  The phone number to call is 1-855-407-4787 (1-855-407-HSUS).

Those who call the hotline will be asked for information to assist animal rescue teams in locating the animals and bringing them safely to a shelter.  The hotline is available 24 hours a day.

NJ's Office of Emergency Management website --

www.ready.nj.gov http://www.ready.nj.gov

 

GOV CHRISTIE WAIVES COSTLY DEDUCTIBLES

    The governor issued Executive Order 107: 

 " ...prohibiting insurance companies from imposing costly hurricane deductibles on New Jersey homeowners. An important part of the recovery of New Jersey will be the influx of funds that occurs when insurers settle claims by New Jersey homeowners. This action will increase the total size of the payments made by the insurance industry, helping residents rebuild their homes and speed New Jersey's path to recovery. ...

   A hurricane deductible typically can be in the amount of two to five percent of a property's insured value. Thus a $500,000 house with a four percent hurricane deductible would result in a homeowner being responsible for a $20,000 deductible, rather than a more standard deductible in the $500-2,000 range. The deductible is the amount the policyholder must pay before the insurer would start covering the loss. Insurers are permitted to charge hurricane deductibles in certain circumstances. However, as the National Weather Service classified Hurricane Sandy as a post-tropical storm prior to landfall in New Jersey, the storm did not meet the first regulatory threshold required to apply a hurricane deductible.

   Separately, the executive order also directed insurers and other regulated entities to exercise appropriate forbearances on collection and cancellation activities, to relax documentation and other requirements, and to reduce insurance burdens on healthcare providers and patients. For example, the order directs the easing of insurer requirements for notifications of hospital admissions; prior authorization requirements; and limitations on prescription refills. It also directs insurers to be flexible on due dates for claim filings and premium payments; and lenders to be flexible on due dates for loan payments, and on late fees. Such flexibility is appropriate due to the difficulty that many individuals continue to face following the devastation of Sandy.

  Finally, the executive order permits insurance companies to begin paying certain claims out via pre-paid debit cards or other alternative payment methods rather than via checks or drafts. This will allow residents to more quickly receive emergency funds to begin temporary repairs or cover alternate living expenses in the immediate aftermath of Sandy, if they cannot access their financial institutions in  order to cash checks. The Department of Banking and Insurance was in the process of proposing rules to formally adopt this process; however, in light of the massive scope of Sandy, the executive order allows insurers to take advantage of this option now. To protect consumers, insurers may only issue payments through these alternate methods if:

***Residents opt in to receiving the payment methods;

***The payment method is not subject to any fees that will diminish the full amount of the claim payment;

***The claimant can convert the remaining value of the card to cash; and

***The claimant is made aware of all applicable terms and conditions.

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