Hurricane Ida Information
Authored By: LawHelpNY (Adapted from a resource by Lagniappe Law Lab)
Hurricane Ida Impacts
From September 1-3, 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida affected several areas in the state of New York. Disaster recovery efforts and related legal issues are expected for months to come.
Applying to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
The President has approved federal disaster help for people in the following New York counties (counties approved as of December 2021):
This means that individuals and households in these counties are eligible to apply for financial and direct help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Please note that FEMA may add other counties to this list. To get the most updated information related to this disaster, go to fema.gov.
DEADLINE to apply for federal disaster assistance: The last day for individuals and families to apply for assistance after this disaster has passed. You are no longer able to begin a new claim. However, if you were denied assistance from FEMA or disagree with the amount that FEMA awarded, you have a right to appeal FEMA’s determination. You can see below for more information on this process.
FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. You can apply to FEMA in different ways:
- Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
- On the FEMA Mobile App
- Text “DRC” and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to locate a Disaster Recovery Center in your area (standard message and data rates apply), or by
- Calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish and press 3 for other languages.
For more information on the FEMA process, check out the Figuring Out FEMA guide from The Center for Urban Pedagogy.
Appealing FEMA's Determination
If you were denied assistance from FEMA or the award is not enough to cover for damages, you have a right to appeal FEMA’s determination.
If you need to appeal a FEMA denial on your own, you can use this free and interactive form to build your appeal and request a copy of your file from FEMA, built for you by attorneys and experts.
IMPORTANT DEADLINE: If you would like to appeal FEMA's determination on assistance, you have 60 days from the date on the determination letter to do so. If you think you have a good excuse for not appealing within the 60-day timeframe, send your letter anyway and explain why it is late.
Other benefits available
Undocumented New Yorkers Who Do Not Qualify for FEMA Assistance
If you do not qualify to receive FEMA assistance because of your immigration status, you may be eligible to receive recovery assistance through the New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) program. Residents should call the ONA Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 for help on how to apply. Learn more here.
Emergency Funding for Homeowners
If you are a homeowner in New York, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster Counties and were impacted by Hurricane Ida flooding, you may be eligible for Governor's Hochul Emergency Funding. Please call (646)786-0888 for more information. Read the full press release here.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Governor Hochul announced assistance is available to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in New York City, Long Island and Westchester to replace food lost as a result of power outages and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida. Additionally, residents of those communities will be able to temporarily use their SNAP benefits to purchase hot and prepared foods. Click here to read the governor's announcement.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
If you lost your job as a direct result of Hurricane Ida, you may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance if you live or work in the Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties. To be considered, you must be ineligible for other kinds of unemployment assistance. You must also explain how, when and where you lost your job. To apply, call the New York State Department of Labor at 866-642-7227. The deadline for filing for disaster unemployment benefits is Thursday, November 18.
Please come back to this page to check for updates and new information.
How to get legal help
The disaster legal services hotline for this disaster has closed, but you can still apply for legal assistance by visiting this page: https://nysba.org/assistance-disaster-relief-hurricane-ida/
La línea telefónica para ayuda legal por este desastre no está operando ya, pero todavía puede solicitar asistencia legal completando este formulario en línea: https://nysba.org/ayudalegalida/
What legal issues can I expect to see following a natural disaster?
Legal issues are extremely common following a natural disaster.
Sometimes, you may not even recognize an issue as being a legal one.
Immediately After a Disaster
- Landlord Tenant Issues
- Applying for government benefits
- Applying for loans
- Getting covered by insurance
- Replacing lost documents
- Wage theft
1-6 Months After a Disaster
- Appealing FEMA denials
- Renewing rent subsidies or other government benefits
- Evictions and repair questions
- Proving homeownership and "clearing" property title
- Disputing insurance claim coverage amounts
- Contractor scams and disputes
- Powers of attorney for childcare or the elderly
- Modifying parenting orders to reflect new home and school locations
- Estate planning
6 Months to Years After a Disaster
- Home loan foreclosures
- Defending against FEMA "recoupment" (when they ask for assistance back)
- Applying for disaster tax relief
- Disputes about home elevation or significant home damage for permitting
- Housing repair and mold issues
A lawyer may help you in several ways, including:
- Obtaining assistance from FEMA and other benefits available to disaster survivors, including if you have been denied assistance
- Navigating insurance claims and disputes
- Landlord-tenant problems
- Replacing important documents
More ways to get free legal help
Figuring Out FEMA
This is a free and visual guide that breaks down the process of enrolling in FEMA’s Individual Assistance program.
The guide also explains how to appeal FEMA’s decision if you are denied aid or need more assistance and explains your rights when interacting with FEMA. Go to Figuring Out FEMA.
Disaster Distress Helpline
This hotline is dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.
Disability & Disaster Hotline
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies hosts this hotline that provides information, referrals, guidance, technical assistance and resources to people with disabilities, their families, allies, organizations assisting disaster impacted individuals with disabilities and others seeking assistance with immediate and urgent disaster-related needs.
The Disaster Hotline is always available for intake calls, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-626-4959. You may also email email@example.com for assistance.