April 07, 2020
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Disaster assistance programs

Homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered damages or losses as a result of the recent disaster may be eligible for assistance from a variety of state, federal, and voluntary agencies. Types of assistance include:

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE

Coordinated by the American Red Cross and voluntary agencies active in disaster

Assistance: Emergency food, clothing, shelter.

Who’s eligible: Available to individuals and families with disaster-related emergency needs.

Criteria: Also makes referrals to church groups and other voluntary agencies.

HOME AND PERSONAL PROPERTY DISASTER LOANS

Administered through Small Business Administration.

Assistance: Low-interest loans for restoring or replacing uninsured or underinsured disaster-damaged real and personal property.

Who’s eligible: Individuals located in counties included in presidential disaster declaration.

Criteria: Loans limited to amount of uninsured, SBA-verified losses; maximum loans: $200,000 real property, $40,000 personal property.

DISASTER HOUSING ASSISTANCE

Administered and funded by FEMA.

Assistance: Provides grants for temporary housing or for emergency repairs needed to make a residence livable until more permanent repairs can be made.

Who’s eligible: Homeowners and renters whose permanent homes are uninhabitable because of the disaster.

Criteria: Housing assistance grants supplement any insurance coverage an individual might have. Homeowners may receive grants to return to their homes by making minimal repairs. Homeowners with more substantial property damage may qualify for initial temporary housing grants. Renters may qualify for short-term rental assistance. Extensions may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

INDIVIDUAL and FAMILY GRANT PROGRAM

Administered by state; funded by FEMA.

Assistance: Grants to meet serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance or other federal, state or voluntary agencies.

Who’s eligible: Persons with serious unmet needs who do not qualify for SBA disaster loans.

Criteria: Maximum grant of up to $13,400 depending on family composition and needs. Most grants are lower.

TAX ASSISTANCE

Administered by Internal Revenue Service (1-800-829-1040).

Assistance: Expedited federal tax deductions for casualty losses to home, personal property or household goods. ALSO … Assistance and information on state income tax returns also can be obtained from the state Department of Revenue.

Who’s eligible: Individuals and families with disaster-related losses totaling more than 10 percent of adjusted gross income.

Criteria: Under certain circumstances a taxpayer may file an amended return during the year of the disaster or for previous years and obtain a tax refund in a matter of weeks.

CONSUMER SERVICES

State Department of Consumer Affairs.

Assistance: Counseling on consumer problems such as product shortages, price gouging and disreputable business practices.

Who’s eligible: Anyone.

BUSINESS DISASTER LOANS

Administered by SBA.

Assistance: Loans for the repair or replacement of destroyed or damaged business facilities, inventory, machinery or equipment, etc., not covered by insurance. ALSO … Economic Injury Disaster Loans also may be available for working capital to assist small businesses during the disaster recovery period.

Who’s eligible: Businesses located in counties declared disaster areas by the president OR small businesses located in declared and contiguous counties.

Criteria: $1.5 million statutory loan limit.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Funded by FEMA; administered by state Employment Security Agency. Call your sta services office.

Assistance: Weekly benefits available to individuals out of work because of the disaster.

Who’s eligible: Available to all individuals out of work because of the disaster, including self-employed persons, farm owners and others not covered under regular unemployment insurance.

Criteria: Program assistance ends 26 weeks after declaration. Proof of income required.

FARM ASSISTANCE

Rural Economic and Community Development Agency.

Assistance: Emergency loans for physical or production losses.

Who’s eligible: Available to farmers who were operating and managing a farm.

Criteria: Loans limited to the amount necessary to compensate for actual losses to essential property and/or production capacity.

INSURANCE INFORMATION

State Insurance Commissioner, American Insurance Association, FEMA and National State Department of Insurance.

Assistance: Assistance and/or counseling on ways to obtain copies of lost policies, file claims, expedite settlements, etc.

Who’s eligible: Individuals and families with disaster-related losses.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE

Coordinated by FEMA, Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association.

Assistance: Free legal services for low-income disaster victims.

Who’s eligible: Individuals and families with disaster-related legal issues.

Criteria: Applicable to such matters as replacing legal documents, transferring titles, contracting problems, will probates, insurance problems, and certain landlord-related problems.

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

Social Security Administration.

Assistance: Expediting delivery of checks delayed by the disaster OR assistance in applying for Social Security disability and survivor benefits.

Who’s eligible: Anyone eligible for Social Security.

VETERANS BENEFITS

Department of Veterans Affairs

Assistance: Assistance with information about benefits, pensions, insurance settlements, and VA mortgages.

Who’s eligible: Veterans and their families.

SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY

State agency responsible for services.

Assistance: Services to the elderly such as meals, home care and transportation.

Who’s eligible: Individuals age 60 and older.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, contact Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1-800-462-9029.


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