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FEMA Offers Tips for Sandy Victims Denied Aid

There are measures residents can take to ensure they get help.

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.

Betty Ann December 19, 2012 at 12:32 PM
As with the 1/2 home in Union Beach, this just recently purchased home on Shell Rd in the "Camp Osborn" section on the Brick section of the Barrier Island, appears to be the example of damage that occurred to our community.
none ya December 19, 2012 at 03:45 PM
How is a loan going to help people? We lost everything and all they can suggest is to get an interest bearing loan? How do they expect repayment? Furthermore, food assistance under the D-SNAP program is only available to people who were currently on the SNAP program which is not available to people who speak English, are not a minority, and don't have dependents. Maybe its time to do a FULL overhaul on regulations and help the people who really need it!
Tamara Winfrey December 19, 2012 at 10:06 PM
This is what happens when rules are more important than the outcome. FEMA itself is a disaster just like every other part of our bloated system of government.
clamdigger December 19, 2012 at 11:21 PM
"How is a loan going to help people? We lost everything and all they can suggest is to get an interest bearing loan?" do you expect free money? what would you consider to be a suitable solution?
Nunya December 20, 2012 at 03:05 AM
You are wrong about the D Snap program. It was available to anyone who applied and could show they substained some kind of loss. People currently on the SNAP program got additional food allowance added.
rch December 20, 2012 at 06:43 AM
"not available to people who speak English and not a minority" absolutely not true. Ask at any Sr. Center in the area and you will discover that many of our elderly residents are on SNAP, many elderly caucasian widowed woman. SNAP is not based on RACE. I am sorry for your terrible loss but no reason to be racist.
Jon Smith December 20, 2012 at 03:30 PM
As someone who lost their home in the storm I can tell you dealing with FEMA has been a slap in the face. The amont of money we were granted won't cover 1/10th of the damage to my home. We weren't asking for money to replace appliances or personal affects, just enough to get the home back into inhabitable condition. While the loan is an idea, it places people who were living paycheck to paycheck in a very poor position. Even at the lowest rates, the supplemental drain on their income will cause more people in the long run to lose their homes and put such a severe strain on them financially, they will end up having to come back to the government in the long run for further assistance. My question is this: With all the money being donated to the various charities and organizations to help people affected by the storm, where is it going?
Jon Smith December 20, 2012 at 03:32 PM
With the "250 million in aid that has gone to help 50,000 people", what has happened with the rest of the privately donated money to help the victims? It seems like a lot of towns and cities that have recieved donations have taken it upon themselves to approbate the funds as they determine, and WHEN they determine. Meanwhile, people are living in shelters, with families, in rented apartments, etc... The point of FEMA was to help restore people back to a situation they could manage, and I can say as one person who needed help, they failed me and my family. My home is destroyed, and my family will have to spend Christmas somewhere else. Also as a side note it doesn't seem like anyone is addressing: How about the gouging by clean-up companies? We called companies liek Serv-Pro and Contractors just to get an appraisal on our home. The contractor wanted $800 just to come out to do an inspection, and Serv-Pro said they were only coming out to work on the home, not to appraise and I was to have a check in hand for 50% of the cost. When I told Serv-Pro I didn't have the funds on hand they told me, "Well call back when you do," and hung up on me. Merry Christmas right?
Peter M. Clausen III January 16, 2013 at 01:08 AM
I got $8,000 for $72,000 damage and division of banking and insurance hasn't returned a single call, sen conners is useless, and fema is a joke, sba has asked for my federal tax returns and lost them 3 times. am I frustrated? look for a house fire in bayville.
Cynthia E Miller January 17, 2013 at 03:47 PM
none ya, i agree w/u 100%. they are denying loans anyway. you can't even get a loan. it is so ridiculious on how they run things. you can't any help anywhere. they can write all they want and tell you where to go and you still can't get anything. apply for fema, they say don't stop there try again. how about getting denied 4 times. are you f--in kidding me. fema really sucks. i can't beleive that the governor can't step in w/this. they discriminnating agains the senior citizens. unbelievable. and then they want you t raise your home. where u going to get that money from, fema says they will give you $30,000.00 if you have flood insurance, but you have to realize,there are only 3 companies in the state of nj that do this. buy the time you get your housed raised, will be dead. and if u do not have flood insurance, bascially they said, you are screwed. it costs over $150,000.00 to get your housed raised. some of the homes you didn't even pay that much for. people in worse debt then they already ready are from this storm. you can't get help from anyone. who do you go to. they keep telling you, if you don't get assistance from fema or you can't get a loan to to the volunteers, which by the way, they don't even know who they are. so basically WERE SCREWED.

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