John Constantine makes his way out of his house after winds from Hurricane Sandy toppled a tree fell onto it in Andover, Massachusetts, on October 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

John Constantine makes his way out of his house after winds from Hurricane Sandy toppled a tree fell onto it in Andover, Massachusetts, on October 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Superstorm Sandy turned into the largest diameter hurricane on record, spanning more than 1100 miles before making landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. It became the second most expensive hurricane with more than 65 billion in damage, and the costs are still rising.

Some areas went without electrical power for more than a month. Many people were prepared with standby and portable generators, but in some cases were still left without power because their generators were damaged by the storm . Others were forced to purchase or rent generators to power medical equipment when faced with life-threatening health issues.

Qualifying for Assistance

In order to qualify for any FEMA assistance, you must reside in a county that is part of a presidentially-declared disaster area. FEMA sends a guide through the mail to all residents in a disaster area that details what assistance is available and what expenses the money covers. You can also view the guide online.

Residents of disaster areas must register for assistance and meet eligibility requirements for the Individual and Households Assistance Program.

Repairing and Replacing Generators

FEMA won’t help you buy a new generator to weather the next storm, but it might help you pay for one that was damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Each generator case is treated individually and reimbursement amounts are based on the average cost of a generator that is large enough to power the average sized home in that area.

For assistance to repair or replace a damaged generator, you will have to provide receipts that show it was purchased before the storm and an estimate that shows the repairs costs or that the generator is damaged beyond repair.

Generators for Medical Equipment

Once the governor declares a state of emergency, rental or purchase costs of electric generators to power medical equipment fall under the FEMA assistance program. The area you live in must be declared a disaster area by presidential order, and the rental or purchase must be necessary due to loss of power.

Costs of a rental generator are covered from the time the power is interrupted until power is restored, or until the state of emergency is declared over. Purchase of a generator to power medical equipment must occur after the state of emergency is declared.

To qualify for reimbursement of the purchase or rental of a generator for medical purposes, you must provide two pieces of documentation:

  • Copies of rental or purchase receipts for the generator.
  • Proof that the generator is necessary to power medical appliances or devices in the form of a letter from the doctor on his letterhead that states the medical devices are necessary.

FEMA Assistance

Federal disaster survivor assistance is intended to provide aid after a disaster like Superstorm Sandy. After registering and applying for assistance, you’ll be contacted by an inspector within 14 days to inspect your property and the damage incurred. Within ten days after the inspection, you’ll receive your checks from FEMA.

There are restrictions on how you may use the funds. You must use money issued to replace a generator to replace the generator unit. Keep receipts on how you spent FEMA assistance money for at least three years; FEMA may conduct random audits to ensure money was properly spent.

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