Post-Hurricane Sandy Series: FEMA Assistance For Businesses

This post ends our series on Post-Hurricane Sandy. This week we talk about FEMA assistance for businesses.

A Staten Island Hurricane Sandy recovery meeting got heated in late November, as residents begged FEMA for help, and expressed frustration over their perceived inability to receive adequate assistance, according to a report from WABC.

As a business owner, you might also experience some of the same frustrations, and you might even be confused about how to seek assistance. We, at Goodway, would like to offer you some information that could make it easier to restore your facility after a disaster.

Most flood-damaged HVAC equipment must be replaced not repaired. FEMA or other government aid might be available to help you finance the replacement of damaged equipment.

Consult with your insurance company first. But know that you should still apply for FEMA assistance even if you have insurance; disaster assistance may cover damages your insurance won’t.

File your insurance claim with the insurance company immediately as failure to file a claim can affect your eligibility for disaster assistance. FEMA allows 12 months from the date you register with the agency to submit insurance information for review. Signing up with another agency doesn’t mean you’re registered with FEMA; you must apply directly to FEMA to register for disaster assistance.

Here are some situations where FEMA could provide additional assistance to supplement the assistance you receive from your insurance company, according to NorthJersey.com:

1. The insurance settlement decision is delayed longer than 30 days from when you filed the claim. If this happens, you must mail or fax a letter to FEMA at FEMA IHP, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, Md. 20782-8055, FAX 800-827-8112. You will need to include documentation to prove you filed the claim.

If the claim was filed via phone, you should provide the claim number and the date you applied. If you receive FEMA assistance and find out your insurance will cover whatever FEMA did, you must return the FEMA money to the agency.

2. The maximum insurance settlement you receive does not sufficiently meet your disaster-related needs. In this case, mail or fax a letter to the address or fax number mentioned above, explaining the unmet need. You should also provide documentation from your insurance company explaining what they covered.

You can find out how to apply for FEMA assistance on the agency’s website.

If you’re eligible for disaster aid, you might also be able to apply for a low-interest disaster loan through the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). You can apply for a SBA disaster loan online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s website.

Lots of rumors and misconceptions are floating around concerning the Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts. Visit FEMA’s Rumor Control page to learn what’s fact or fiction.

Also to receive more updates, follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.

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