How to get disaster assistance when hurricane strikes your place

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By: Good Nelly
on 1st Nov,2012

Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern coast of the country on 29th October, 2012.
How to get disaster assistance when hurricane strikes your place

Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern coast of the country on 29th October, 2012. The people in the eastern cost are busy in removing debris and restoring electricity. Government and the residents of the eastern coast are trying hard to bring life into normalcy.

If hurricane Sandy has wrecked your place, then there are a few steps which you need to take for getting federal disaster assistance.

1. Find out if you live in official disaster region:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a series of disaster assistance programs for the people slammed by a natural disaster. However, FEMA will offer disaster assistance only if you live in the place covered by a Major Disaster Declaration. So, you need to find out if you're in an official disaster region. You can get information about this from the official webpage of Federal Disaster Declarations.

2. File an insurance claim as soon as possible

Once you're confident that you live in an official disaster region, contact your auto and home insurer immediately. You may not qualify for the federal disaster assistance for the damages otherwise. This is because FEMA can't offer any financial assistance for the damages that are already covered by insurance.

After you make your insurance claim, FEMA may offer some kind of financial assistance in the below mentioned scenarios.

(a) The insurance settlement has been postponed: FEMA will give you money if the insurance settlement has been postponed by more than 30 days. However, you need to pay back the money once your settlement arrives. Send the insurance settlement documents to FEMA as soon as possible. Don't forget to mention the insurance claim number in the letter you send to the FEMA.

(b) You didn't get enough money from insurance settlement: If the money you get from the insurance settlement is not enough to cover your needs, then FEMA may give you a loan. Send a letter to FEMA stating your situation. Enclose your insurance claim documents with the letter.

(c) You've spent loss-of-use settlement: In case you have you've used additional living expenses, then you get some help from FEMA to meet your immediate housing needs.

3. Determine the type of assistance you need: You can get disaster assistance in 2 forms primarily - housing requirements and non-housing requirements. You'll get money to renovate your primary residence through housing assistance. In the later case, you'll get funds to meet doctor bill and purchase garments, tools, fuels, etc.

4. Find out your application status: Don't sit idle after you've submitted your application for federal disaster assistance. Find out the status of your application within a day. You'll get detailed information on the disaster assistance procedure from FEMA. You'll also get a copy of your application form soon.

5. Keep relevant documents with you: The FEMA will send an inspector within 10-14 days of application submission to review the damages caused by the disaster. You don't have to pay a fee for this. Make sure you're present when the inspector visits your home. Show him the copy of the documents such as driver's license, homeowners insurance policy, tax records, etc.

FEMA will go through the report submitted by the inspector. If you're eligible for the aid, then you'll get a check along with a letter. Go through the letter carefully to know how to use the funds properly.

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