Applying for Economic Assistance to Help Recover from Hurricane Sandy

Issues: Disaster Relief

I am pleased to announce that the President expedited and approved an official disaster declaration to aid in our recovery efforts. This declaration makes Connecticut residents, business owners, and municipalities eligible to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for financial assistance to help recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Click here for information in Spanish.

Please keep careful records of your hurricane-related expenses. You must have proof of your expenditures in order to receive federal assistance.


Rep. Himes speaking with the National Guard at a site in Ridgefield, November 2.

If you incurred uninsured losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy, you may be eligible for economic assistance from the federal government. Please read through the details below to learn how to apply.

WHERE TO GET HELP

My offices are open and fully staffed, ready to help you navigate this process. Please call my Connecticut offices at 866-453-0028 or stop by either my Bridgeport (211 State Street) or Stamford (888 Washington Boulevard, 10th Floor) offices, and we will be happy to answer any questions you have about the federal disaster assistance application process.

FEMA has also now opened Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Connecticut to assist home owners and businesses affected by Storm Sandy. You can search here for the location nearest you.

AVAILABLE ASSISTANCE & HOW TO APPLY

Individuals
FEMA can help you cover the costs of repairs if your damaged property is not covered, or under-covered, by insurance. Assistance is available to help cover the cost of temporary housing, home repair or replacement, permanent and semi-permanent housing construction, and other needs such as medical, dental, funeral, and transportation expenses.  The deadline to apply for Inidividual Assistance is January 28, 2013.

To receive financial disaster assistance, you must apply directly to FEMA by phone, via mobile device, or online: 

  • By phone: Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). For those with speech or hearing disabilities, the number is 1-800-462-7585. These lines are open every day from 7am to 10pm. 
  • From your mobile device, visit m.fema.gov 
  • Online: Apply online here.

***Please note that even if you have already reported your damages to 2-1-1, you must still apply directly to FEMA to receive assistance.

Small Businesses: In addition to the physical damage assistance listed above for individuals, small business owners are also eligible for assistance under the Small Business Administration (SBA). If you own a small business, you can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), which are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations that were affected by Hurricane Irene. EIDLs can help you meet any financial obligations that cannot be met because of the storm. The deadline to apply for EIDLs is July 31, 2013. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website here.

Public Assistance: Fairfield County has also been declared eligible for Public Assistance, which will help cover the costs our cities and towns face for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities.

I strongly urge anyone who is eligible to take advantage of federal financial hurricane assistance. If you have any questions regarding how the federal government can help you pay for your damages, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 866-453-0028 or by clicking here.

Remember, it is imperative that you keep careful records of all of your expenses to be eligible for assistance.

BEWARE OF SCAMS

A note from FEMA:

The following list of consumer safety tips can help homeowners and other survivors spot fraudulent activity:

  • There is never a fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance or to receive it.
  • There is no fee for FEMA or U.S. Small Business Administration property damage inspections.
  • Government workers will never ask for a fee or payment. They wear official badges. Watch out for middlemen who promise you will receive money, especially if they ask for an up-front payment. FEMA inspectors carry the registration number assigned to the applicant at the time they register.
  • Get three written estimates for repair work. Then check credentials and contact your Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to check complaints against the contractor or business.
  • Before work begins, obtain a written contract detailing all the work to be performed, costs, a projected completion date, and procedures to negotiate changes and settle disputes.
  • If the contractor provides any guarantees, they should be written into the contract clearly, stating what is guaranteed, who is responsible for the guarantee and how long the guarantee is valid.
  • Pay only by credit card which allows you to dispute a payment later if it turns out to be fraudulent. A reasonable down payment may be required to buy materials for some projects, but do not pay for anything without a signed contract.

Anyone suspecting fraud should call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721. Complaints may also be made to local authorities or the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection at www.ct.gov/dcp or 1-800-842-2649 (you may also call 860-713-6110).

Already, more than 6,550 Connecticut residents have registered for federal disaster assistance. More than $7 million in federal disaster assistance has been approved to help individuals with disaster expenses in Connecticut, including funding for:

  • temporary housing.
  • housing assistance, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs.
  • other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses, spoiled food, and lost personal possessions.

Additionally, more than 4,800 disaster loan applications have been issued by the United States Small Business Administration(SBA). Of that number, more than 3,800 are for home loans, with more than 900 applications from businesses.


Additional Federal Resources to Help Repair Sandy-damaged Homes

To help homeowners and businesses apply for assistance, I will held an information session on December 1 with representatives from FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA). This information session focused on assistance available for those who wish to elevate their homes and businesses to avoid future flood damage. Homes and businesses located in flood-prone areas which were affected by Hurricane Sandy may be eligible for federal assistance for elevation. Business owners can apply for low-interest loans with the SBA. Home owners can also apply for low-interest loans and grants for home elevation or repairs and additionally may eligible for FEMA displacement costs.

 

Bridgeport, CT

211 State Street, 2nd Floor
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Phone: (866) 453-0028
Fax: (203) 333-6655
Hours: M - F 9:00 am to 5:00 pm