Need FEMA Help? Register Now

Those whose homes suffered damages due to Sandy have 60 days to register for assistance

As the full extent of Hurricane Sandy's impact is still being uncovered, residents who lost homes or have suffered damage to them can apply to FEMA for help right now.

Registering your claim can be done online or by phone, and the process takes about 25-30 minutes, officials say.

The website is www.disasterassistance.gov. You can apply via your smartphone as well at m.fema.gov. To apply by phone, call 1-800-621-3362. People with speech or hearing disabilities should call 1-800-462-7585.

According to Scott Sanders, a FEMA spokesman, you have 60 days from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for help. For New Jersey residents, this means you have until Saturday, Dec. 29 -- 60 days from the date the disaster declaration was made, on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

In addition to assistance with the costs of repairing or replacing homes -- FEMA's website notes it is secondary coverage to homeowner's insurance -- FEMA provides rental assistance as well.

There is information you need when you apply for assistance. According to the FEMA website, www.disasterassistance.gov, you should have the following information available:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Insurance information -- the type of insurance you have.
  • Your annual gross income.
  • Contact information where they can reach you, especially if you are displaced

You also must fill out and sign a Declaration and Release Form (OMB form 009-0-3), and send it to:

FEMA – Individuals & Households Program

National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055

Or fax it to: 1-800-827-8112

Many towns will be holding information sessions with FEMA representatives in the coming days.

Steve S November 06, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Joiseymom, You still don't get it. I know FEMA is for people who are desperate. That is why the idiot politicians and people like you should make everyone aware that certain people shouldn't waste their time, or the time of the people administering the FEMA program, by filing a claim. Does it make sense for tens of thousands of people who own 2nd homes to clog up the FEMA system by filing a claim, and then making calls to ask why they get nothing? Of course not. FEMA is like welfare. It is to provide basic necessities to people who are stranded, and really need help. What don't you get? My issue is with the useless politicians who can't provide basic information. It is NOT with people that need FEMA reliief. Get it now? I'm glad to hear you pay taxes. Congratulations!
DENNIS SYLVESTER November 06, 2012 at 03:00 AM
John E November 06, 2012 at 03:42 AM
FEMA is to help if your home is destroyed. Not if a tree is down or your roof shingles blew off ( that's homeowners insurance). Most homes really in bad shape were along the coast..live near the water..expect floods ( need flood insurance). Also I think and know 50% of those homes along the shore where shut down ( summer homes)..yes they got damage and entitle for help..but its not like people were living in all those homes and needed help!
John E November 06, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Most were vacation homes..the owners were high and dry in their other homes most likely...most shore parts..not all.
John E November 06, 2012 at 03:52 AM
The shore to me is walking distance to the ocean..other then that to me your not a home owner at the shore.
Tony T November 08, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Was it a legal rental apartment.....were you declaring the income on your W2? Did your renter has insurance to cover his/her loss and emergency housing?
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress November 08, 2012 at 01:09 PM
TomT - many, MANY homes on the islands are two-family top-&-bottom structures - and the occupants are retirees who use the income from the rental unit earned during the summer, REPORTED ON SCHEDULE E - (you don't issue "yourself" a W2 <wages> statement, you "declare" rental income and expenses on Schedule E) - to cover the huge property assessments. There are many homes that are built where little bungalows were for decades before - the land/asset owned by the same families for generations. Often, these "are" second homes because they are "shared" by multiple heirs - again, used for rental at times to offset tax costs. Otherwise, they may still be considered "first homes" if the owner lived there at least 183 days or more per year. There was a huge flurry of speculative construction, capitalizing on greatly increased demand and rental income potential, converting many of these smaller bungalows. (I said "often", not "always", so no hair-splitting) in the late '80s through the '90s and into the 2000's. Some even opted for top and bottom "condominiums". Towns received the benefit of the higher ratables. It is very rare that I have run across an applicant who did not correctly represent their rental earnings on their tax bill, because, without doing so, you cannot use that income to offset expenses when calculating ability to carry debt - in other words, to reduce the rate on the mortgage taken out to do the conversion in the first place.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress November 08, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Part two - I have seen many such applications in the recent past, because rates have fallen so low...but with the losses on the islands in Irene and Sandy, few lenders are willing to stick their necks out on those properties - insured or not. The navigation of the application process for those homes is not for the faint of heart - especially now that the "short-cuts" of the Stated Income/Stated Asset and Stated Income/Verified Asset and other limited documentation products have evaporated. How investors and insurers will handle this Spring's market, when the homes are sufficiently repaired to be appraised, remains to be seen. I will be running for Congress again in two years - I am curious to see how the person who defeated me does in addressing the economy, social security, the lack of a budget due to 4 years of grid-lock, and the housing crisis - let alone the long-term effects of this storm and whatever may next come. I hope, for all of us, he does a most excellent job. Forgive me if I have my doubts as to his abilities. We shall see. Meanwhile, I'm back to what I do...
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress November 08, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Fixing the economy one household at a time - Frederick John " FIXMYLOAN" LaVergne... http://www.ml-implode.com for insider news and advice.
Maria smith November 09, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I have not heard one person say FEMA has helped them...let's hear from the people who FEMA has helped!!!! Oh right there are none...I'm tired of people who don't know telling me to call FEMA like they are magically going to appear with assistance. I'm tired of everyone thinking that FEMA is the miracle fix because they are no way near being that...so good luck! I'm tired of answering the question ..well, did you call FEMA ? And having o explain how I have and I don't qualify for assistance and I am certainly tired of the politicians propaganda how they are helping everyone because it's all lies..if someone actually benefitted from one of these programs please please please come forward and let us know how you got assistance and give the rest of us some useful info...everyone else shut up!!!!
Maria smith November 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM
What is your hardship domboss?? Its usually the people not going through a hardship that are judging the emotions of those who are.
Maria smith November 09, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Steve I agree ...I was led to beleive I would be helped by FEMA because of the propaganda of how FEMA will help anyone and everyone affected....please stop misleading the public. FEMA will only help you if you are below a certain income bracket ...first question they ask during your interview after your name is what is your household income? I don't see how that matters during a disaster. Businesses don't qualify for ANY assistance from FEMA. I know everyone is trying to help but please stop telling me to call FEMA !!!!!! And please get informed on who FEMA helps before you waste precious time depending on them.
Maria smith November 09, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Joiseymom you sound like a jealous baby. I don't have enough money for a second home either but I am smart enough to know that people work damn hard to be able to provide anything for their family. Just because they have a summer get away doesn't mean they are millionaires and should be left to their own devises when disaster hits.
Robyn November 09, 2012 at 03:32 PM
It's true - we have gotten information from the TV News, newspapers, our beach association, township website AND our insurance company to "file a FEMA claim no matter what". Their thinking is that there is a time limit to file the claim with FEMA - some say 30 days after the disaster and some say 60, but after that, you can't file. So you file a claim and if you don't need it, or you don't qualify, oh well. So I have a secondary house on the barrier island, with very good homeowners and flood coverage (I haven't seen the house yet, so I have no idea if I need anything!), but when I called my insurance company, they also told me to file a FEMA claim. I know what FEMA does and doesn't do because I have family on the Gulf Coast who suffered varying degrees of property loss during Katrina. I didn't want to file with FEMA because I am warm and cozy in my primary residence, I have no idea if I have any damage (but you should open a claim with your homeowners and flood insurance, so I did that). My insurance is going to cover whataver losses I do have minus deductibles. So leave the FEMA efforts and funds to the people who need it! I have a feeling all of this is so FEMA can say "We processed ______ number of requests after Hurricane Sandy". Even if a high percentage of them were denied - the higher number looks good and probably gets them more funding!
Edward Hotel November 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
First of all FEMA has no money, it is OUR money! PLus, why is FEMA paying for private homes? FEMA is supposed to pay to get the infrastructure up and running, not private home repairs and replacements. Private insurance is what should be covering homes, if you don't have private insurance you are out of luck.
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