April 2, 2007
A summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Bush’s major disaster declaration for New Mexico.
Assistance for affected individuals and families can include:
• Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
• Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.
• Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.
• Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.
• Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses.
Loans available up to $1.5 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.
• Loans up to $1.5 million for small businesses that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $1.5 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
• Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.
• Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans benefits and Social Security matters.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency.
How to apply for assistance:
• Those in the counties designated for assistance to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at http://www.fema.gov or by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362) or (800) 462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.
The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday.
Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.