As Hurricane Harvey continues to rage on through Texas, LendEDU has outlined the necessary steps to be taken if a victim of Hurricane Harvey wishes to apply for disaster recovery assistance.
First, if you need to get your hands on some essential items, such as clothing, food, or temporary housing, you should call or email the 2-1-1 helpline. This telephone line is open 24/7, and many of the operators are fluent in multiple languages.
The 2-1-1 helpline is part of United Way of Greater Houston, one of the many organizations that are doing their part to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. A few other organizations include the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and the American Legion.
For those looking for aid from the federal government, President Trump recently issued a major disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey, so impacted Americans can now apply for long-term aid through the government.
Residents of the following counties may qualify for individual assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Wharton.
Since donation dollars from individuals and organizations are still being collected, the funds are not yet available to be distributed amongst the impacted victims. Once the money does become available, an impacted victim must go through the application and questionnaire on DisasterAssistance.gov in order to be considered for disaster aid.
The information you enter will be imperative because that will determine if you are eligible to receive things such as grants, low-interest loans, and temporary housing. Information that you will need to fully complete the application includes your social security number, insurance information, damage information, pre-tax household income at the time of the storm, contact information, and direct deposit information including your account and routing number.
Once the application is completed, an applicant will receive a PIN that will enable them to access their account. Applications may take a few days to fully process because so many people will be applying for aid.
For student loan borrowers, the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) within the Department of Education has laid out some information for student debtors impacted by the hurricane. First and foremost, FSA encourages students to contact the financial aid office at their respective school, in addition to their lender or loan servicer.
If a student loan borrower feels that their need or eligibility for federal financial aid has changed because of the hurricane, than they should contact their school’s financial aid office and ask for a reassessment of eligibility.
If a student debtor has lost important documentation necessary to receive financial aid, they should inform their school immediately. The school may decide that the documents are no longer required. Also, if a borrower is looking to transfer to a different school because of the hurricane than they should immediately contact the new school so that they can request financial aid records.
Further, the U.S. Department of Education has told their federal student loan servicers to be flexible in managing loan payments from student borrowers impacted by Hurricane Harvey. One student loan servicer, Navient, has already announced that borrowers affected by the hurricane may be eligible for administrative forbearance, which will postpone their student loan payments.
Author: Andrew Rombach
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