By: Gemma Lagasca
People around the globe were terrified when the 21 states in America were hit by a super-storm named Sandy few weeks ago. It was an extraordinary “real-life monster” that frightened and killed numerous helpless individuals. This real-life disaster was described as such because the super-storm brought exceptional quantity of rain, floods, snow and destroyed extensive amount of properties, houses and infrastructures estimated to reach billions of dollars.
Due to this dreadful destruction, millions of survivors were left emotionally and physically devastated. Fortunately, Benefit.gov affirms its support for over 1,000 assistance programs. It is committed to help citizens find general assistance they urgently need. This E-Government initiative is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through DisasterAssistance.gov website – for easier application access to the 17 Federal Agencies created for this purpose.
President Obama ensures that FEMA’s program is available to any resident from the affected states within New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. President Obama also assures public assistance to municipalities or Tribal officials in different states such as West Virginia, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Just visit FEMA’s web site for added information.
Aside from FEMA’s various kinds of financial aids, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Small Business Administration (SBA) are also willing to support Benefits.gov. In association with the program they also offer the following benefits for the survivors:
1. Housing Assistance:
• Rental Units – survivors can be benefited with FEMA’s Housing Portal. It helps individuals and families to relocate and find a home for them to start all over again – after the devastating disaster. The affected and identified families should contact the federal agencies in charge and check the property choice on commercial websites.
• Temporary Housing – affected families and individuals with damaged homes have the privilege to be sheltered in motels or hotels in New Jersey and New York temporarily – while their houses are under repair. This program belongs to Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program. However, it is necessary to get registered first with FEMA to check application illegibility.
2. Business Loans:
• Business Physical Disaster Loans – this type of loan is not only limited to small businesses. It is a non-profit program that offers low-interest and long-term loans to recover the losses from their businesses due to the calamity. The loan can also use to rebuild and repair the establishment, property, machinery or equipment. The actual amount will be based on the actual damages or can be approved up to $2 million.
• Business Recovery Centers – these centers offer one-on-one business guidance and are operated by SBA. This is currently available in Brooklyn NY and Manahawkin New Jersey.
3. Tax Counseling:
• Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program – tax payers who were affected with the disaster are exempted to pay their taxes. Instead, the IRS provides tax counseling and gives assistance to for the victims to claim for tax refunds. All they have to do is to accomplish the forms and complete the needed information for the reconstruction of the destroyed financial records and furnish requirements for the refund.
4. Legal Services:
• Disaster Legal Services (DLS) – they provide legal assistance to affected individuals with low-income. Survivors like them are obviously incapable in securing legal services – on top of their basic necessities.
These are examples how the US government is taking care of its citizens during unfortunate incidents such as Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
Image Source: CNN