By now Hurricane Sandy has left New York and communities throughout the state begin the long and slow journey to recovery. As we all work together to repair our homes and communities, please keep this list of resources and benefits available to you handy.
If you need immediate disaster assistance contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or the NYS emergency assistance hotline that can help people and businesses hit hard by the storm start rebuilding: 855-NYS-SAND(Y) or 855-697-7263.
Stay current on the federal government response to Hurricane Sandy at USA.gov/sandy. You’ll find information on federal disaster assistance, health and safety tips, how to donate and volunteer, what government is doing, and how to avoid hurricane scams and fraud.
FEMA: FEMA has released a statement listing the type of federal aid available for New Yorkers. The full list of federal aid available is here. You can start the disaster assistance application process by either (1) registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or (2) by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). DisasterAssitance.gov is also available in Spanish, so Spanish-speakers can request FEMA assistance through this website: DisasterAssistance.gov en Español.
Information on how to access FEMA help is also available in 19 other languages here. Non-citizens can still qualify for FEMA aid. Click here for a resource from FEMA which discusses how non-citizens can access help.
Please note – there is a lot of misinformation circulating on social networks regarding the response and recovery effort for Hurricane Sandy. FEMA has created a Hurricane Sandy: Rumor Control page that includes an on-going list of rumors and their true or false status.
Internal Revenue Services (IRS): The IRS provides tax counseling and assistance to taxpayers whose property has been damaged or lost in a Federally declared disaster area. Taxpayers also have the option to deduct non-reimbursed casualty losses that occurred in a Federally declared disaster area in the year the disaster occurred or file an amended return and deduct the loss in the year immediately preceding the year the disaster occurred. For more info click here.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers affected by Hurricane Sandy of certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief that may be available to them. For more information on how eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures and more click here.
National Disaster Legal Aid: http://www.disasterlegalaid.org/. This website includes information on disaster-related legal services.
Small Business Administration (SBA): has comprehensive disaster recovery services, available in some cases for business owners and non-owners alike. Renters and homeowners, a group that includes most sole proprietors, can borrow up to $40,000 for repairs and to replace things like appliances, furniture, automobiles, and clothing. People who own homes can apply for as much as $200,000 for repairs to their primary residences.
Business owners, whether private or not-for-profit, whose organizations are damaged in a designated disaster area, can apply for loans up to $2 million for real property, machinery and other equipment, fixtures, and leasehold improvements. The loans can be used for both uninsured and underinsured damages.New York State Resources
NYS Hurricane Sandy Emergency Assistance Hotline: 855-NYS-SAND(Y) or 855-697-7263
If you’ve purchased food with food stamps that has been spoiled due to flooding/power outage: Hunger Solutions New York encourages you to follow USDA food guidelines during any power outage. Should a SNAP recipient need to discard of any food purchased with benefits because of a loss of power longer than 4 hours or due to flooding, they can request replacement SNAP benefits.
You can use the form titled, “Request for Replacement of Food Purchased with Food Stamps Benefits” at http://www.otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/ to request replacement of food purchased with SNAP benefits. This form is available in six other languages: Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Italian.
Governor Cuomo Announces Homeowners Will Not Have to Pay Hurricane Deductibles on insurance claims. Read more here. The NYS Department of Financial Services has activated a Disaster Hotline to answer consumer questions and help with problems. The Disaster Hotline number is 800-339-1759. It is staffed Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 8 PM and Saturday – Sunday from 9 AM – 4 PM. If you are having problems with your insurance claims, you can also file a complaint with them here.
New York State Bar Association is providing NY residents with free legal assistance for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. To inquire about this service please call their special legal hotline at 1-800-699-5636. You can also visit www.NYSBA.org/Sandy for more info.
If you live or work in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk or Westchester counties and you lost your income due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), also referred to as Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance, provides individuals that live or work in one of the counties declared as a disaster and have become unemployed as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy to be eligible for DUA relief. You may qualify for DUA even though you would not normally be eligible for UI benefits. For residents in these counties you can click here to find out if they qualify for DUA, NY DUA Benefits. .
Farmers and the Self-Employed Directly Affected by Hurricane Sandy may also qualify. Click here to read more.
To learn more about DUA you can visit LawHelp.org/NY’s section on Disaster Unemployment Insurance in NY.
LawHelp.org/NY has disaster relief information you can find by clicking on the Public Benefits topic and then the Disaster Relief and Information subtopic. Here is a direct link to this webpage on LawHelp.org/NY: Disaster Relief and Information.
NY Attorney General Price Gouging Complaint line: If you have noticed that the price of goods and services have gone up since the hurricane passed New York, don’t stay silent! The NY Attorney General has issued a warning regarding the inflation of price of goods and services, you can read the complete warning here. If you have noticed this in your community please report this by calling the toll-free complaint line at: 1-800-771-7755.
For more information on Hurricane Sandy’s impact on public benefits offices, Fair Hearings, or Job Centers, click here.
United Way of New York has set up a Hurricane Sandy Emergency Fund that will address the near-term and long-term recovery needs of individuals, families and communities along the Eastern Seaboard that were impacted. Contributions to the Fund will be used by local United Ways in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia. United Way of New York City will charge no administrative fees. Stay tuned for more info on how you can access assistance from this fund. In the meantime, if you would like to donate to this fund click here: United Way Hurricane Sandy Emergency Fund.
Lawyers Alliance for New York if you are a nonprofit in New York that has questions about assisting relief efforts, emerging legal issues related to the disaster, or victims of Hurricane Sandy, contact Lawyers Alliance for support. Their number is (212) 219-1800. They have also developed a collection of resources for organizations dealing with the impact of the hurricane and operating a disaster relief program. The collection of resources are available here.
Pro Bono Partnership is also providing legal advice for non-profits in NYS who have post-sandy related issues. For assistance you can email them at: email@example.com or call at 973.240.6955. You can read more about their work here.
Senator Gillibrand has created a guidebook with information about emergency disaster assistance grants, loans, tax credits, and other programs to help New Yorkers recover from the storm’s devastation. To access the resource guide that will be updated daily click here
List of Official NYC Evacuation Shelters where you can receive food, water, and shelter, NYC Official Shelters.
NYC food and water distribution locations, for a full list of locations visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/foodandwater.html. Additional sites will be added to the list as information becomes available.
Distress Counseling for New Yorkers: If you are feeling overwhelmed by the consequences of Hurricane Sandy, you can contact any of these groups for free mental health services:
Disaster Distress HelpLine:
call 1-800-985-5990; TTY 1-800-846-8517
or Text TalkWithUs to 66746
FEMA and MHA-NJ toll free Disaster Mental Health Helpline:
1-877-294-HELP (4357). A TTY line is available for persons who are deaf and hearing impaired at 1-877-294-4356.
Legal Services NYC City-Wide Sandy Recovery Hotline is available from 10am-3pm. LSNYC Legal staff can help answer any questions you may have about how the recovery affects your public benefits, foreclosure, employment, housing, how to access assistance, and more. Just call (347) 592-2411. Click here to read more about this hotline. This hotline is able to take calls from all non-English speakers!
NYLAG’s new Storm Relief Effort will place their staff at disaster relief centers and community-based organizations and hospitals. Their attorneys and volunteers will be onsite to provide legal advice to victims dealing with issues including FEMA claims, housing disputes, consumer matters and emergency public benefits. Those seeking immediate assistance with legal issues can call their new hotline at 212-584-3365 or email at StormHelp@nylag.org. For more info you can also visit: nylag.org/stormhelp.
Make the Road by walking is providing legal assistance for Spanish-speaking and immigrant New Yorkers in NYC. They can help you find and access emergency services andmake sure that language access and immigration status do not prevent anyone from getting the shelter, supplies and help they need. Click here for their contact information.
The Family Center is providing legal services to families and individuals impacted by Hurricane Sandy. These services include legal counseling and representation for hurricane-affected New Yorkers who are experiencing difficulty with housing or public benefits, such as social security or food stamps. For a full list of the legal issues they can help you with, click here. Please contact The Family Center at (212) 766-4522 ext. 150 to receive this critical legal support.
A guide to help NYC residents figure out how the disaster affects their current benefits, information on how to apply for new assistance, and more - Disaster Relief Legal Assistance Manual.
NYC Communities for Change (NYCC) can help you apply for FEMA aid and making sure your claim is processed as soon as possible if you’ve already applied for help. Click here for more info on how NYCC can help you with your claim.
Did you lose your job as a result of Hurricane Sandy or are unemployed and not receiving unemployment benefits? If so, Governor Cuomo has just announced $27 million dollar in disaster funds to hire you to help clean up impacted communities in Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties to help clean up impacted communities. If you are interested in this program call 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365). Read Governor’s press release here.
Notify NYC: Register for Notify NYC, a program designed to provide subscribers with real-time information about emergencies throughout all five boroughs. You can even specify which five zip codes interest you most. Registration is free via www.NYC.gov/notifynyc, by calling 311 or following @NotifyNYC on Twitter.Local Resources
Dry Ice will be distributed by Con Ed throughout NYC. Here is info on where they will be on 11/2/12.
Legal Assistance for Long Island residents: Touro Law Center – Hurricane Emergency Assistance and Referral Team (TLC HEART) will open next week to provide referrals, assistance and legal advice for local residents and small businesses affected by the storm. The Center will provide help in assessing eligibility and completing application forms for the wide range of emergency assistance available to storm victims, both individuals and small businesses (e.g., food stamps, government loans and grants); free legal consultation and advice on storm-related legal issues (e.g., insurance, landlord-tenant, consumer complaints, unemployment); assistance to members of the Touro Law community who are in need. Beginning next week, residents will be able to call the center at (631) 761-7198 and email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information click here.
Local elected officials: during this time do not hesitate to contact your local Senator, Congressperson, etc for assistance. These elected officials are working with the state and federal government to bring aid and assistance to your area; so they will be able to provide vital information and resources to you.
Google Crisis Map: is one of the best maps to help you find local shelters and traffic conditions in your area: http://google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy.
Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/ . If you are interested in donating funds, supplies, etc to your local Red Cross, go to this website to find the chapter closest to you.
Your local bank: The following banks have agreed to waive late fees, overdraft fees, etc in slew of the Hurricane. Each bank offers a slightly different deal, so make sure to call your bank to find out what they waiving and until when. The list of banks that are waiving fees are:
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