Southern Brooklyn

Who Qualifies For FEMA Disaster Assistance? Deadline Is Days Away – Don’t Delay!

Photo by Erica Sherman

Three months have passed since Superstorm Sandy swept through our community, but the deadline to apply for FEMA disaster assistance, January 28, has not yet passed, though its getting closer.

With just a week to go before FEMA accepts its last applicants, they put out a press release reminding people of just who qualifies for assistance and how to get it. Here are the relevant details for those looking to apply:

Who Qualifies for FEMA Disaster Assistance?

To qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a survivor of Hurricane Sandy must meet certain conditions.

First, the individual or household losses must have occurred in an area covered by the presidential disaster declaration for New York, which includes 13 counties.

  • Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

The survivor must register with FEMA. There are several ways to do this:

  • Via smartphone or tablet, go to or download the FEMA app.
  • Call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.
  • For 7-1-1 Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS), call 800-621-3362.
  • The toll-free telephone numbers operate 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week until further notice.
  • A FEMA Language Assistance Line is available for those who need interpretation services in languages other than English or Spanish. Call: 866-333-1796.

The deadline to register with FEMA is Jan. 28 in New York.

If the applicant has insurance, he or she must file a claim with the insurance company.

For housing assistance

  • The damage to the property is not covered by insurance or the insurance settlement is insufficient to cover the losses.
  • The applicant or someone who lives in the household is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
  • The applicant must have a valid Social Security number.
  • The damaged home is where the applicant usually lives and was living at the time of the disaster.

Who Qualifies for FEMA Disaster Assistance?

A survivor may not be eligible for housing assistance if:

  • The home that was damaged is a secondary or vacation residence.
  • Expenses resulted only from leaving the home as a precaution and the applicant was able to return to the home immediately after the incident.
  • The applicant has refused assistance from his or her insurance provider.
  • The only losses are business losses.
  • The damaged home is located in a designated flood hazard area and the applicant’s community is not participating in the National Flood Insurance Program.                                         o In this case, the flood damage to the home would not be covered, but the applicant may qualify for rental assistance or assistance for items not covered by flood insurance.

For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visit, and

Recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

And, just to be clear, this deadline is for new applicants only. If you already applied and are looking to appeal or sort out additional documentation, FEMA will continue working with existing applicants beyond the deadline.

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