Recovering from Hurricane Maria

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It's been a devastating hurricane season. First Harvey and Irma, and now Hurricane Maria has pummeled Puerto Rico. It’s time to take stock and develop a recovery plan. The process may seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips and links to resources to help make the task less burdensome. 

  • Contact your insurance company to proactively ask about steps to assess damage to your home or business and file a claim.
  • Be skeptical of people promising immediate clean-up and debris removal. Some may demand payment up-front for work they never do. Others may simply lack the skills, licenses, and insurance to legally do the work.
  • Scammers sometimes pose as government officials and ask for personal or financial information or money to apply for aid that you can request on your own for free. You can contact FEMA directly to apply for aid at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-3362.
  • Scammers also may make bogus offers of loans or grants, or claim they can expedite or maximize claims or aids requests. Thoroughly investigate anyone asking for an upfront payment to submit, process, or finalize any award, claim, loan or grant.
  • Government officials will never ask you for money or financial account numbers in exchange for information or the promise of a check. If someone claims to be from the government, ask for their ID. You can call their agency to confirm it.
  • Be cautious of rental listing scams. Scammers often advertise rentals that don’t exist to trick people into sending money before they find out the truth.

 

You might have had to leave your home without IDs, checks, credit and debit cards, and other documents. You also might be without access to a bank account or paycheck for some time. If you need to get money, understand your options for paying bills and replacing important documents. This list of contacts may help you regain your financial footing.

  • Call your creditors and ask for help. If you’re a homeowner, even if your home is uninhabitable, you still have a mortgage. Contact your lender to discuss your options.
  • Report lost or stolen credit, ATM, or debit cards to the issuer as soon as possible. Don't have the phone number? Call toll-free directory assistance at 1-800-555-1212.
  • Contact your utility companies. Let them know you’ve lost your belongings in the disaster. Ask them to waive fees and let you to defer payments, or put you on a different payment schedule.
  • Ask your employer if, and how, you can continue to get your paycheck and health insurance.
  • Receiving benefits? Contact your retirement company, social services office, the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213), or the VA (1-800-827-1000). Give them your new location, and ask how you’ll get benefit payments. The U.S. Department of Labor (1-866-4-USA-DOL) works with state and local governments to issue unemployment insurance and other assistance.
  • Visit usa.gov/replace-vital-documents or call 1-844-USA-GOV1 to find out how to replace birth certificates, Social Security and Medicare cards, and more.

Bookmark this site. If a weather emergency affects you, return to this mobile-friendly site for tips on recovery and information about your rights.

Comments

Thank You Very much for this needed information. Many of us are really anxious being cut of our homes and cars damaged. Time to be positive,if possible Thank You

Polk county was put on the disaster List. Everyone already get stams, Ours was on there. We didn't get many. But we thankful for them. People who did not get stamps. Got 1000,1500,1300. I don't think it's fair. They work didn't have no Damage but they got triple of the people they live by. About 10 years Ago hurricane Rita took my roof off I lost a lot of stuff. Still without a lot cause I'm disable. Fema came out and promise me I would get a check. Later said they Gave out too much too people didn't Need it. They were still helping People move to Houston from Louisiana. Last year. They don't treat people fairly at all

My father and I had his wife lost everything will also vital papers we have nothing to come back on our feet we need a loan we need help can you please help me

Walmart is now over-charging on non-refrig food items for shipment. Since I am handicapped and do not drive any longer, I have been ordering some non-refrig food items from Walmart.com. However, yesterday I noticed that the price of everything has went up a great deal, 40%-60% higher than their in-store prices. Not sure if this is legal but I would advise people to be very aware of what I would call price gouging at Walmart.com. Shoppers buying from Walmart think they are getting store prices when that is no longer true, at lease on the 25 food items that I checked on. Be very careful expecting low prices when ordering on their web site. I suspect these summer hurricanes had something to do with their price changes and they are taking advantage of the difficulty people are having getting hurricane food such as peanut butter, coffee, mayonnaise etc. If this is legal, people should known who to watch.

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