Suffolk County residents who have suffered devastating losses due to Superstorm Sandy are urged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency as soon as possible to apply for grant monies.
According to an update sent out by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, before applying to FEMA, residents should contact their homeowners’ insurance agency, and then register with FEMA through the website at www.disasterassistance.gov, or call FEMA directly at 1-800-621-3362.
Once an application has been completed, FEMA represenatives will usually contact applicants within 48 hours, the release states. A FEMA agent will come to an individual's home to assess the damage.
FEMA is making decisions regarding grant awards within days.
Bellone said residents should not wait for insurance agents or FEMA to arrive before cleaning up areas that may be hazardous, however. Instead, residents are advised to document the damage for insurance purposes with photographs of storm-ravaged areas. In addition, residents should keep receipts for services and goods.
Suffolk County officials warn that FEMA interviewers who come to assess damage will not ask personal questions, such as an individual's Social Security number or bank account number, or other questions applicants would have already answered when applying for assistance. If anyone asks those kinds of questions, the individual is not representing FEMA; FEMA agents carry official credentials on badges.
Meanwhile, small businesses needing recovery assistance should contact the Suffolk County Department of Labor at (631) 853-6600. Through the SCDOL and Department of Economic Development & Planning, the County is hosting Small Business Assistance Recovery Centers at SCDOL offices in Hauppauge and Riverhead beginning on Wednesday.
Hours of operation at the H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge are from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and at the Riverhead SCDOL from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.