Some disasters, though devastating, will not meet the federal requirements to be a Presidentially Declared Disaster. It is in this instance that we need to be able to recover from the disaster on our own, whether “we” is a local government, a small business, a large corporation, or a local resident.
Regardless of whether you own the damaged property, you are responsible for documenting and submitting the damages to your landlord and/or insurance company. While the physical property may be destroyed, you can still receive financial reimbursement for the value of that property. Prior to the disaster, you should gather all your important documents (such as birth and marriage certificates, deeds, loan information, bank account information, etc.) and make photocopies of them. Store these documents in a safe place. If you evacuate, bring the documents with you. You will need these documents to support your claims.
Personal resiliency is being able to return to normal after a disaster. Planning for disasters, making sure you have enough food, water, medicines, and copies of important documents, and documenting the damages on your property will not only help you to recover faster, it will help you to recover stronger.
How to Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance After a Disaster
FEMA currently operates a program that will assist in helping the citizens of Jacksonville recover after a disaster called the Individual Assistance Program. This program provides crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance, disaster legal services, and housing resources among other services. To be eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance, the President must make a disaster declaration authorizing it. This will be publicized. To apply for assistance, either visit a Disaster Recovery Center or go online to www.disasterassistance.gov
Before applying for assistance, be sure to have a Social Security Number and be a U.S. Citizen, Non-Citizen National, or Qualified Alien. You should also have copies of your insurance documents and the coverage they provide, information on the damages sustained to your property, your family’s total annual household income (before taxes) at the time of the disaster, and contact information for where you can be reached. As part of the screening process for Individual Assistance, you must also complete a Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance package. FEMA will not process an Individual Assistance claim without the SBA application package.
Additionally, homeowners and renters may be eligible to apply for SBA disaster loans. For homeowners, these loans may be used to replace or repair your primary residence. For renters, these personal property loans may be used to replace or repair items such as clothing, furniture, cars, and appliances that were damaged or destroyed during the declared disaster. Visit the Small Business Administration
for more information on home and personal property loans.