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Deadline for FEMA disaster relief extended to Feb. 12

The deadline to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Superstorm Sandy assistance has been extended to Tuesday, Feb. 12. The original deadline was Monday, Jan. 28.

If you incurred uninsured damage as a result of the storm, you may be eligible for assistance from FEMA or the Small Business Administration, or SBA. Connecticut residents, business owners, and municipalities that were damaged from Sandy are eligible to apply to FEMA or financial assistance to help recover.

Resident are advised to keep careful records of all hurricane-related expenses. You must have proof of your expenditures to receive federal assistance. If you incurred uninsured losses as a result of Sandy, you may be eligible for economic assistance from the federal government. Read through the details below to learn how to apply.

WHERE TO GET HELP

Individuals
FEMA can help you cover the costs of repairs if your damaged property is not covered, or under-covered, by insurance. Assistance is available to help cover the cost of temporary housing, home repair or replacement, permanent and semi-permanent housing construction, and other needs such as medical, dental, funeral, and transportation expenses.

To receive financial disaster assistance, you must apply directly to FEMA by phone, via mobile device, or online:

By phone: Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
For those with speech or hearing disabilities, the number is 1-800-462-7585. These lines are open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

From your mobile device, visit m.fema.gov
Online: Apply online here.

Please note that even if you have already reported your damages to 2-1-1, you must still apply directly to FEMA to receive assistance.

Small Businesses
In addition to the physical damage assistance listed above for individuals, small business owners are also eligible for assistance under the Small Business Administration, or SBA. If you own a small business, you can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, or EIDLs, which are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations that were affected by Sandy.

EIDLs can help you meet any financial obligations that cannot be met because of the storm. The deadline to apply for EIDLs is July 31, 2013. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website here.

Public Assistance:
Darien and all of Fairfield County has also been declared eligible for public assistance, which will help cover the costs our cities and towns face for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities.

BEWARE OF SCAMS

A note from FEMA:

The following list of consumer safety tips can help homeowners and other survivors spot fraudulent activity:

1. There is never a fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance or to receive it.

2. There is no fee for FEMA or U.S. Small Business Administration property damage inspections.

3. Government workers will never ask for a fee or payment. They wear official badges. Watch out for middlemen who promise you will receive money, especially if they ask for an up-front payment. FEMA inspectors carry the registration number assigned to the applicant at the time they register.

4. Get three written estimates for repair work. Then check credentials and contact your Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to check complaints against the contractor or business.

5. Before work begins, obtain a written contract detailing all the work to be performed, costs, a projected completion date, and procedures to negotiate changes and settle disputes.

6. If the contractor provides any guarantees, they should be written into the contract clearly, stating what is guaranteed, who is responsible for the guarantee and how long the guarantee is valid.

7. Pay only by credit card which allows you to dispute a payment later if it turns out to be fraudulent. A reasonable down payment may be required to buy materials for some projects, but do not pay for anything without a signed contract.

8. Anyone suspecting fraud should call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721. Complaints may also be made to local authorities or the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection at www.ct.gov/dcp or 1-800-842-2649 (you may also call 860-713-6110).

9. Already, more than 6,550 Connecticut residents have registered for federal disaster assistance. More than $7 million in federal disaster assistance has been approved to help individuals with disaster expenses in Connecticut, including funding for: Temporary housing assistance, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs; other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses, spoiled food, and lost personal possessions.

Additionally, more than 4,800 disaster loan applications have been issued by the SBA. Of that number, more than 3,800 are for home loans, with more than 900 applications from businesses.

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