NJ disaster declaration: Now what? How to apply for help
President Joe Biden on Sunday declared six counties in New Jersey a major disaster area.
The declaration frees up federal funding for victims and local governments.
If you are in one of the disaster-declared counties, this is what you need to.
Register with federal government
The disaster declaration applies to Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon Middlesex, Passaic and Somerset counties. There is a possibility that could change considering that flooding also impacted some communities in other counties.
If you are in one of these six counties, you should register for Ida-related recovery relief at www.disasterassistance.gov.
Aid includes grants for home repairs, temporary housing and low-cost loans for expenses not covered by insurance.
Take as many clear photos as possible of your damage and write down what you lost.
In the meantime, file a claim with your insurance company if you have a policy.
What if you're not in one of these counties?
State and FEMA authorities continue to monitor the damage throughout the state and public authorities want all victims to reach out with information about their losses.
While this data collection will not guarantee aid, it will help state and federal authorities determine the severity of the storm's impacts.
If you are NOT in Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon Middlesex, Passaic or Somerset counties, the state asks you to fill out a survey form at nj.gov/ida or damagenj-njoem.hub.arcggis.com.
The state is looking for the following information from people not in the disaster areas: name, address, damage description and cost estimates. The survey is only for residential structural damage, not damage to vehicles, businesses, barns, carports, fences or other outbuildings.
Clear photos of the damage from multiple angles are encouraged.
People whose primary homes were destroyed by the storm can apply for FEMA Sheltering and Housing Assistance.
Rental assistance is available for victims who agree to relocate and whose housing needs are not covered by insurance.
Transitional sheltering is available for victims who have been set up at shelters and whose homes have been destroyed or are uninhabitable because of the flood.
Financial assistance for home repairs and replacement is available for victims whose homes have been deemed by a FEMA inspector to be uninhabitable and whose costs are not covered by insurance.
What if my business was damaged?
Aid for small businesses is available through the U.S. Small Businesses Administration.
What happens after I apply for assistance?
According to FEMA, federal officials will reach out to verify your identity and address. Documents that can be used for ID include a Social Security card, U.S. Passport, military ID or any documents that lists the last four digits of a Social Security number.
FEMA inspectors eventually will be sent to conduct an outside inspection of the damaged property. Residents should be prepared with a photo ID and a list of all the people who lived in the residence at the time of the disaster as well as an inventory of all the damage caused by the storm.
I'm fine — what can I do to help?
Emergency management authorities say the quickest way to help is to donate money to recognized disaster relief organizations.
To donate materials, you should ask a local organization about what they need first before making unsolicited donations. Don't just show up. Many local emergency management offices are on Facebook listing the supplies that they need.
Keep in mind that needs can change daily.