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Federal Disaster Assistance Is Available Immediately for Individuals and Families and Businesses Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Pursuant to President Obama’s declaration of emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is acceptin

g applications immediately for disaster assistance.

Residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday until further notice. Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.

The following types of assistance are available for eligible households and businesses:

· Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.

· Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.

· Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.

· Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.

· Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.

· Loans up to $2 million for small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact.

Other relief programs include crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; and advisory assistance for legal, veterans benefits and social security matters.