In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, tens of thousands of New Jersey residents have turned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for help in getting back on their feet. In many cases, however, residents have been turned away.
After Gov. Chris Christie announced a deadline extension until Jan. 30 for residents to apply for disaster relief, FEMA distributed a number of tips for those whose applications have been rejected.
FEMA has already distributed , but, by law, can only provide rent or repair money when there is damage to a home’s living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and occupied bedrooms. With these conditions in mind, FEMA has rejected some applications because of “insufficient damage,” the agency said in a release Tuesday.
An aid rejection is not the final step, however.
Firstly, FEMA officials encourage residents who have been denied aid to reapply and ask for a re-inspection. FEMA will reconsider further requests for housing assistance, the agency said, even if the first request was denied. Those seeking re-inspections should call the FEMA helpline by phone or 711/VRS at 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585.
There are other options, too:
Residents denied FEMA aid should complete and return SBA low-interest disaster loan applications, which may be available to help homeowners rebuild.
FEMA is also asking residents to seek volunteer help. Dozens of private nonprofit groups are helping New Jersey and its resident, a release said, and some groups are available to provide minor repairs for those homes not sufficiently damaged. For information about volunteers, call 211 or visit NJ211.org.
Additionally, residents can also file an appeal. All FEMA decisions can be appealed, the agency said:
For information on filing an appeal, survivors should refer to the “Help After Disaster" guide, which is mailed to everyone who registers with FEMA. The guide also is available online at www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster.