Assistance after Hurricane Ida

Due to the catastrophic consequences of Hurricane Ida, Many people across several states in the United States lost material assets such as houses, cars, and crops.. So, the federal government decided to approve an economic package to help those who have suffered the most. However, part of those affected are people whose immigration status does not allow them to access benefits. Because, Whether you are an immigrant or a US citizen and have been affected by Hurricane Ida, do not despair because below we will see what assistance after Hurricane Ida is all about, who can get it, what is the amount and how to request it.

Assistance after Hurricane Ida

What was Hurricane Ida?

On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, coinciding with the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (one of the deadliest in US history).

In its wake, Ida left more than 90 people dead in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, Maryland and Connecticut.. In addition, with winds exceeding 200 kilometers per hour (150 mph), it generated damages of 50 billion dollars, making it the sixth most damaging hurricane in the country’s history.

Help from the federal government for Hurricane Ida

FEMA

Every year, the country faces natural disasters of different magnitudes. Therefore, the government created in 1979 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) whose objective is to provide citizens with systems to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from all types of disasters.

FEMA catastrophe assistance may include temporary money to pay rent, home repairs, lost personal property, and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by your homeowners insurance or other means.

Currently, FEMA assistance regarding Hurricane Ida has been approved for the following states (you can click to see the details of the official information):

Who can apply for FEMA Hurricane Ida assistance?

There are different ways to find out if you and your family are eligible to receive assistance after Hurricane Ida from FEMA and we list them below:

Can immigrants receive FEMA assistance after Hurricane Ida?

FEMA provides assistance to US citizens, non-citizen nationals, and qualified aliens under the following criteria:

  • People who have a “Green Card” or legal permanent residence,
  • People with refugee status, under asylum or with suspension of deportation
  • Aliens with conditional permission to enter the US for at least one year
  • Foreigners who were granted conditional entry (by law in force before April 1, 1980).
  • Cuban or Haitian entrees
  • Some alien victims of extreme cruelty or victims of human trafficking, which includes people with “T” and “U” visas

What about immigrants who do not qualify for FEMA assistance after Hurricane Ida?

If you are an immigrant and do not meet the above criteria at the time of application, families can still apply for help from the Individuals and Families Program. (Individuals and Households Program or IHP). This program aims to meet the basic needs of foreign families after a disaster. But in order to receive this aid, certain conditions must be met:

  • At least one household member, including minors, must meet FEMA eligibility requirements.
  • The parent or guardian of the U.S. minor, noncitizen national, or qualified alien must apply on their behalf.
  • The eligible minor must be under the age of 18 on the first day of the incident period or the date the disaster is declared, whichever comes first.
Note: In addition to the IHP, if you live in the state of New York, we will see later that you have the possibility of receiving financial assistance after Hurricane Ida even if you do not qualify for other government aid due to your immigration status.

D-SNAP Program

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) bases its operation on the SNAP program which is valid throughout the year. D-SNAP can be a great help in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida because its mission is to provide financial assistance for basic needs to low-income people who have greater difficulties due to the disaster.

D-SNAP uses different eligibility criteria than SNAP but both benefits are delivered in the form of a balance on the EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards. If you received SNAP assistance before the disaster, you can get a D-SNAP supplement as long as you received less than the monthly maximum and you had losses from Hurricane Ida.

Also, if you are not eligible for SNAP, you may still be able to get help from D-SNAP if you experienced a financial hardship because of any of these reasons:

  • Home or business repairs
  • Temporary housing expenses
  • Evacuation or relocation expenses
  • Home or business protection
  • Personal injuries, including funeral expenses related to the disaster
  • Loss or lack of access to income due to the disaster, including whether it was reduced, eliminated, or delayed during the majority of the benefit period
  • In some cases, food loss after a disaster such as floods or power outages

To apply for D-SNAP benefits, it is recommended to look in the directory of each state for the SNAP office closest to your home and get in touch to find out the dates on which you can apply and the details of the process.

disaster unemployment assistance

If Hurricane Ida took away your only source of income or injured you so badly that you can no longer return to your old job, then you may qualify for temporary unemployment assistance. However, if you were already unemployed before the disaster and receiving government assistance, then you will not be able to access this benefit.

The Department of Labor (DOL), is the one who provides financial aid and to know the specific requirements and the application process, we recommend calling 1-877-872-5627 (press 2 for Spanish) or 1-877-889-5627 (TTY for people with disabilities auditory). Another way is to check out this page on the DOL website.

Disaster Tax Relief

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers taxpayers and businesses the opportunity to get back on their feet financially after a disaster like Hurricane Ida.

In certain circumstances, the IRS provides additional time to file returns and pay taxes. In addition, you may also qualify for a faster refund if you claim your disaster losses on your prior year’s tax return using an amended return.

On this official IRS page you can access the list of tax reliefs granted by the agency during 2021. Above, you can choose the option to read in Spanish. Or you can also contact the IRS phone number in Spanish.

SBA loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest loans to small businesses and homeowners affected by presidentially declared disasters.

SBA disaster loans can be used to cover personal or business losses not recognized by insurance or FEMA. And if your business incurred operating expenses that you couldn’t afford because of Hurricane Ida, then an SBA loan could help, too.

These loans come in various presentations:

If you are interested in any of these options and do not know if you qualify, or if you want to know about other SBA loans, go to this SBA website and you will know the details.

FHA 203(h) program for rebuilding or buying homes after a disaster

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is insuring mortgages issued by qualified borrowers and whose beneficiaries are those who have lost their homes or their homes need repairs due to Hurricane Ida.

In particular, the FHA’s 203(h) program provides mortgage insurance to protect lenders against the risk of mortgage default for qualified disaster victims.

It’s similar in some ways to the FHA 203(b) program, but for all the details on lenders, requirements, and more, go here.

New York State Government Help for Hurricane Ida

The state of New York, through its Governor Kathy Hochul, announced on September 27, 2021 the creation of a fund of 27 million dollars that will be used to assist undocumented foreigners affected by flooding from Hurricane Ida.

Money from this fund is administered by the New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) and will be delivered by non-profit community organizations in the following select counties: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau , New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.

How to apply for help from ONA in New York?

This assistance after Hurricane Ida is aimed especially at those people who have been excluded from the aid granted by FEMA and other official entities due to their undocumented immigrant status.

So if you are one of them, you live in one of the aforementioned counties and you want to apply for help, you have time to do so until Friday, November 26, 2021.

To apply or get information, you can call the number of ONA Spanish phone at (800) 566-7636 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Another option is to contact any of the following nonprofit organizations:

NGOs providing assistance after Hurricane Ida in New York
County Organization Direction
Bronx Catholic Charities Community Services 402 East 152nd Street, Bronx, NY 10455
brooklyn Chinese American Planning Council 4101 8th Ave, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11232
queens MinKwon 133-29 41st Avenue, Suite 202, Flushing, NY 11355
make the road 92-10 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Staten Island make the road 161 Port Richmond Ave, Staten Island, NY 10302
Nassau Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County 134 Jackson Street, Hempstead, NY 11550
Suffolk make the road 1090 Suffolk Ave, Brentwood, NY 11717
Westchester and Rockland NeighborsLink 27 Columbus Ave, Mount Kisco, NY 10549

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