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Resources for those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

November 13, 2012

UPDATED: Here are some helpful resources and links as you and your clients deal with the aftermath of Sandy.  We’ll do our best to keep the information updated.

Immediate/Emergency Assistance


General Information


Health and Health Benefits

MEDICAID RENEWALS

  • The New York State Department of Health (SDOH) has authorized storm related extensions of Medicaid renewals, closings and responses to RFIs (requests for information) in the following counties:
    • NYC counties
    • Nassau
    • Suffolk
    • Westchester
    • Putnam
    • Rockland
  • In general, renewals have been extended two months so that those coming up for renewal in November will be extended until the end of January.  Counties have asked for some staggering of the renewals to reduce volume in any one month, which could affect the length of extensions.  NYC has asked for the same treatment for December renewals.  Westchester has only requested November extensions.  As mentioned in the last email, October closing notices have been suspended so that renewals not yet completed in October (or approaching closure for lack of response) will be extended as well.
  • Clients should be able to request new renewal packets from their district to replace lost or damaged papers.  SDOH is looking into whether they can issue new packets toward the end of the extensions.
  • For new applicants, the time to respond to Requests for Information (RFIs) will be extended by a week.
  • Finally, for Child Health Plus (CHP), renewals have been extended two months statewide. 


Issues dealing with Medicare in New York:

Social Security Benefits

  • You can call this number for a recording about closings in NYC: (718) 557-6690.  According to the recording, some offices are expected to reopen on Monday, November5th.
  • Information about hearing postponements throughout the region has been somewhat sporadic.
  • There has been no official announcement from SSA yet as to when or how hearings will be rescheduled, whether missed hearings will be dismissed, or whether filing and appeal deadlines will be extended.
  • For updated information check: http://www.ssa.gov/emergency/#a0=0
  • Delivery/Non-Delivery of Checks in the New York City area: The US Postal Services has listed zip codes where mail – and specifically Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks will or will not be delivered.  Here is the USPS link to all the affected stations.


Food Assistance

New developments! The Unite States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves waiver to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamp) recipients devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Between Friday afternoon, November 2nd, and Sunday evening, November 4th, the Governor’s office announced that:

  1. Individual SNAP recipients have an extended period of time to request replacement benefits.  Instead of 10 days, they now have 30 days.
  2. SNAP recipients living in the hardest hit areas of the state will automatically get a replacement benefit without having to request it.  The replacement benefit amount will be 50% of the household’s normal monthly benefit.   The areas include Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester counties; all of Staten Island, and other sections of New York City.  Additional zip codes in New York City that experienced extended power loss may be added as more details about the number of households affected becomes available
  3. SNAP recipients in New York City and Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester counties can use their benefits to purchase hot and prepared foods at EBT retailers until November 30th


The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) issued a Q&A to help educate clients about these developments.

(Available through the Human Resources Administration/local Department of Social Services)

  • Households receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps) who have lost food due to the disaster can apply for a replacement SNAP benefit


From Hunger Solutions NY:

Housing and Foreclosure Assistance

Immigration

Access to Disaster Benefits for Immigrants without Status

US Citizenship & Immigration Services has the following announcements:


The Executive Office for Immigration Review has the following announcements:

  • The New York City and Varick Street immigration courts are closed The courts at 26 Federal Plaza and 201 Varick Street are closed on November 2nd.  For updates please check: http://www.justice.gov/eoir/press/2012/InclementWeatherClosingOct2012.html
  • The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has extended filing deadlines due to the storm.  For updates please check: http://www.justice.gov/eoir/press/2012/HurricaneSandyFiling.html103

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers affected by Hurricane Sandy of certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief that may be available to them.

  • USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to maintain lawful immigration status or obtain certain other immigration benefits. Eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures, including:
    • A change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
    • Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
    • Expedited adjudication of off-campus employment authorization applications for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
    • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications; and
    • Assistance to Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards). USCIS and the Department of State will coordinate on these matters when LPRs are stranded in places that do not have a local USCIS office.

US ICE and CBP to Refrain from Immigration Enforcement in Sandy Emergency Response

USCIS Offers Temporary Extension of Deadlines and Relief for Individuals Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Legal Services Issues


Administrative/Fair Hearings

Find updated information here: http://www.otda.ny.gov/oah/

Because of current weather conditions, if you have a fair hearing scheduled at 14 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, for October 29, October 30, October 31, or November 1, your hearing will be rescheduled. For all other locations, please contact your county Department of Social Services for further information.
 
As of November 1, l(ast updated: October 31, 2012, 7:30 pm) these local social services offices are closed are listed as being closed:

  • New York City
    • Brooklyn: Coney Island Job Center - 3030-3050 West 21st Street
    • Staten Island: Richmond Job Center - 201-209 Bay Street
    • Queens Rockaway: Rockaway Job Center - 219 Beach 59th Street
  • Putnam County

Banking

You may have received an email from your bank(s) letting you know branch closings and what fees they are waiving and for how long. We urge you to read those emails as well as updates. Below are links to top banks and the Sandy information from their websites.

Consumer Assistance

Unemployment

  • Governor Cuomo Announces Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance Now Available to New Yorkers Affected by Hurricane Sandy
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance: New York State Department of Labor
  • Important information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance 
  • If you live or work in one of the counties declared a disaster area and lost your job as a result of Hurricane Sandy, you may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) relief. You may qualify for DUA even if you would not normally be able to get unemployment insurance benefits. For more information, click the link above and see Frequently Asked Questions about DUA.
  • Fact Sheet - Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Due to Effects of Hurricane Sandy  
  • Fact Sheet - Farmers and the Self-Employed Directly Affected by Hurricane Sandy  
  • Concerned about asbestos abatement and demolition? Call our Division of Safety and Health at (518) 457-2072.
  • National Emergency Grant Award Governor Cuomo announced that New York State has received $27,792,296 in federal Disaster National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds. The grant will be used to hire workers who lost their jobs as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy in Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties to help clean up impacted communities.  To be eligible, workers must be unemployed prior to or as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Workers interested in this program should call 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365). The New York State Department of Labor will work with local officials to recruit and hire workers.
  • Claimant Extension Date Many Unemployment Insurance claimants were unable to certify for their weekly benefits due to the loss of power and phone service. The Department of Labor will extend the date of certification of unemployment benefits for people impacted by Hurricane Sandy from Nov. 3, 2012 to Nov. 10, 2012. These people need to call 1-888-209-8124 and speak to an agent to receive benefits for the prior week. If you are unable to access a phone to obtain benefits, you can visit any of the agency’s One-Stop Career Centers.

 





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