FEMA Assistance Available for Hurricane Zeta Victims

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Homeowners, renters, and business owners in Orleans Parish and across the region who experienced uninsured losses due to Hurricane Zeta may be eligible for federal disaster assistance. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated six parishes in Southeast Louisiana, including Orleans Parish, as eligible for Individual Assistance programs under the Major Disaster Declaration for damage and losses suffered from Hurricane Zeta between Oct. 26 and 29, 2020. The other parishes include Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and Terrebonne. 

Disaster Assistance

Disaster assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost disaster loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and businesses recover from the effects of the disaster. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, those without insurance, or those who may be underinsured, may still receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.

Homeowners and renters who suffered damage from Hurricane Zeta should register with FEMA and apply for federal disaster assistance as soon as possible. The deadline to register for assistance for Hurricane Zeta is March 15, 2021.

Register with FEMA by:

You will need to have the following available when you register:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted;
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
  • Your Social Security number, if available; and
  • If insured, the insurance policy number or your insurance agent and company

SBA loans also available

U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loane are also available to businesses, homeowners and renters. Loans are available:

  • For businesses of any size and nonprofits for up to $2 million for property damage.
  • For small businesses, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most nonprofits: up to $2 million for working capital needs even if they had no property damage, with a $2 million maximum loan for any combination of property damage and working-capital needs.
  • For homeowners: up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence.
  • For homeowners and renters: up to $40,000 to replace personal property, including vehicles.

Businesses and residents can apply online at sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. For questions and assistance completing an application, call 800-659-2955 or email FOCWAssistance@sba.gov.

Disaster Unemployment available as well

Governor John Bel Edwards requested a major disaster declaration for 6 Louisiana parishes, making disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) available to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a direct result of Hurricane Zeta, the Louisiana Works Commission also announced today (Jan. 13).

LWC is accepting applications for DUA from residents and businesses in Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and Terrebonne parishes until Feb. 21.

Individuals affected in these designated-disaster areas must file DUA applications by established deadlines. DUA is available to those who: 

·         Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment; and

·         Do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Extended Benefits (EB) from any state; and

·         Were unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster; or

·         Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or 

·         Cannot physically access the place of employment due to its closure by the federal, state, or local government in immediate response to the disaster; or

·         Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principal source of income; or

·         Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster; or 

·         Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household. 

Applications filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and DUA benefits may be denied unless the individual provides good cause for filing after that date; therefore, claimants should file as soon as possible.

Proof of employment/self-employment should be submitted no later than 21 days after filing your claim. The following documents are acceptable as proof of employment:

·         Payroll voucher closest in date to the last work week

·         Employment and earnings statement from employer with name, address and contact information

·         Written statement from employer

·         Notarized affidavit from person with name, address and contact information who can verify claimant’s employment and unemployment (this is for those workers who are unable to reach their employer)

·         Business records (bank statements, business receipts, licenses, advertisements, invoices, appointment books, financial statements)

·         Notarized statement from person with name, address, and contact information who can verify your self-employment and unemployment 

For those who are self-employed, a 2019 federal income tax return and schedules can serve as proof of prior wages, but does not substantiate proof of employment at the time of the disaster.

DUA is available for weeks of unemployment beginning Nov. 1, 2020, until July 17, 2021, as long as the individual’s unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster.  

Due to unprecedented call volume at this time, applicants are strongly encouraged to file their DUA applications online by visiting www.laworks.net through the LWC’s HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) portal. Applicants may also file by telephone by calling the Benefits Analysis Team at 1-866-783-5567 from Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 7:00 pm CDT and Sundays 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.