Union County Human Services Action Line
Residents are advised that conditions are still hazardous and travel is limited in many parts of Union County following Hurricane Ida. Those needing assistance with shelter, food and other resources can call the Union County Department of Human Services Action Line at (888) 845-3434 or (908) 558-2288.
FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers
All Union County residents can apply for help at any of the centers below.
Elizabeth – O’Donnell Dempsey Senior Community Center
- 618 Salem Avenue
- Monday through Friday 7am to 7pm
- Saturday 8am to 5pm
- Sunday 8am to 5pm
Cranford – Community Center
- 220 Walnut Avenue
- Monday through Friday 8am to 5 pm
- Saturdays 9am to 5 pm
FEMA Designates Union County as a Major Disaster Area in Wake of Hurricane Ida – Federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts in the areas affected by storm
The Union County Board of County Commissioners notifies all residents that President Joseph Biden and FEMA have designated Union County as a major disaster area following the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida from September 1 to 3, 2021.
Residents are encouraged to self-report damage caused by Tropical Storm Ida through the State of New Jersey’s damage reporting portal: damagenj-njoem.hub.arcgis.com/. Click Report Tropical Storm Ida Damage to FEMA. The information gathered through the portal does not guarantee assistance but assists FEMA and the state for assessing county disaster levels and criteria for the designation for FEMA assistance The portal asks for basic information including name, location, damages, cost, and need from impacted residents and businesses.
The application process is through disasterassistance.gov/. Residents should continue to check if/when Union County is designated under Address Lookup. Once active, Click on Union County and then Apply Online. The Disaster Name and Declared Date for the county needs to be confirmed before starting the application process.
Prompted on the website when you click Apply Online:
If you are a disaster survivor, you may qualify for federal assistance.
- If you are applying for both home and business disaster assistance, complete one registration to cover both.
- If you are applying for multiple disasters, you will need to complete a registration for each disaster.
You’ll need the following to complete your registration:
- Social Security Number (SSN) OR the SSN of a minor child in the household who is a U.S. Citizen, Non-Citizen National or Qualified Alien
- Annual Household Income
- Contact Information (phone number, mailing address, email address*, and damaged home address)
- Insurance Information (coverage, insurance company name, etc.)
- Bank Account Information (if you are eligible to receive financial assistance, the money can be deposited in your account)
* Note: You must provide an email address if you want to review your registration status online. If you do not provide an email address, you will be required to contact FEMA for any updates to your registration.
If you need further information or assistance:
Call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362. This number is also for users of 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS). TTY users can call 1-800-462-7585. Helpline services are available 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET.
If you use a relay service (a videophone, InnoCaption, CapTel, etc.), please provide your number assigned to that service. FEMA must be able to contact you. Be aware that phone calls from FEMA may appear to come from an unidentified number.
If you are having technical issues, call FEMA’s Internet Help Desk at 1-800-745-0243. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To learn more, review the Help After a Disaster brochure. This provides policy and eligibility information for all assistance under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Visit the Individual Disaster Assistance page for more details. You may also view Disasters by calendar year or find other agency support by disaster.
For New Jersey residents living in Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset Counties, individuals can apply for assistance through FEMA the following ways:
- The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting disasterassistance.gov/ or by downloading the FEMA App on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
- If it is not possible to apply online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.
New Jersey residents who live outside the affected counties are encouraged to continue reporting damage (residential structures only, no vehicles) from Ida as damage assessments are ongoing.
Information collected in this portal will help local, state, and federal authorities better understand the location and severity of damage impacts. The NJOEM Public Damage Reporting portal is located at damagenj-njoem.hub.arcgis.com.
Understand What Losses FEMA May Cover
FEMA assistance differs from insurance in that it only provides the basic needs to make a home safe, sanitary and functional. FEMA assistance does not make you whole again, but it can give you a helping hand to recover. FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss.
Home damage must be related to Hurricane Ida. FEMA inspectors may contact survivors who apply to arrange for an inspection appointment.
Examples of Safe, Sanitary and Functional Repairs to Make a Home Fit to Live in:
- Property: FEMA may assist with the replacement or repair of disaster-damaged heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems as well as refrigerators and stoves. Other possible repairs that may be covered are utilities such as electrical, plumbing and gas systems. Non-essential items like dishwashers and home entertainment equipment are not covered.
- Ceiling and Roof Damage: FEMA grants may help to repair disaster-related leaks in a roof that caused damage to ceilings and threaten electrical components, like overhead lights, but will not pay for simple stains from roof leaks.
- Floors: FEMA assistance may be used to repair a disaster-damaged subfloor in occupied parts of the home, but not floor covering like tile or carpet.
- Windows: FEMA payments may assist with disaster-related broken windows, but not blinds or drapes.
Other FEMA help may include temporary expenses to pay for lodging if a survivor’s home is unlivable, or assistance for replacing essential household items.
As every survivor’s situation is different, FEMA calculations on what it may cover vary. Expenses for repairs that exceed the conditions to make a home safe, sanitary and functional are ineligible. Spend Grants Wisely
Disaster grants should not be used for travel, entertainment, regular living expenses or any discretionary expenses not related to the disaster. Survivors should keep receipts for three years to show how they spent FEMA grants.
If grant money is not used as outlined in the letter you receive, you may have to repay FEMA and you could lose eligibility for further federal assistance that could become available later for your disaster recovery.
If Assistance is Not Enough to Repair your Home to its Original Condition:
After you apply for disaster assistance, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA may contact you to offer a low-interest disaster loan. Homeowners and renters who are referred to the SBA should complete the loan application even if they decide not to take it in order to remain eligible for additional FEMA programs. SBA loans may include:
- For businesses of any size and most nonprofits: 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
Union County SNAP Recipients are Eligible for Hot Meals – Special disaster nutrition assistance is in effect until September 30.
The Union County Board of County Commissioners advises SNAP recipients in Union County that they are eligible for special disaster food assistance from now through September 30.
SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The special assistance was applied for and received by the New Jersey Department of Human Services after FEMA issued a Major Disaster Declaration for counties impacted by Tropical Storm Ida, including Union County as well as Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset.
“Tropical Storm Ida has created new burdens on many households, including those impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to thank the Murphy administration for their work in securing additional federal nutrition assistance for Union County and others affected by the storm,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella.
SNAP recipients in Union County can use their EBT benefits cards to purchase hot food at participating NJ SNAP retailers until Sept. 30, 2021.
For a list of participating retailers visit the interactive map at the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, usda.gov/snap/retailer-locator. Please note that the hot food waiver only applies to items purchased from SNAP-approved retailers located in the 10 counties under the Major Disaster Declaration issued by FEMA.
SNAP recipients in Union County also have until September 30 to request replacement benefits for food lost due to the impact of the storm.
All current Union County SNAP recipients can report food loss due to the impact of the storm by calling the Union County Social Services office at 908-965-2700.
Clients who are currently receiving SNAP benefits, can also report food loss by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email, please be sure to state your name, case number and address, and include a brief statement regarding your loss of food items only.
Assistance to individuals and households. Individuals in Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset, and Union Counties can apply with FEMA by applying online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the application phone number at 1-800-621-3362.
Assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster damaged facilities.
Hazard Mitigation Assistance
Assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
A public health emergency declaration has been issued for NJ. Constituents with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) who need help accessing dialysis or similar services can call the ESRD Network toll free at 888-877-8400.
If constituents’ medical supplies, like prosthetics or orthotics have been lost or ruined in the storm, Medicare may be able to waive certain restrictions to ensure that they can receive new supplies.
Constituents should call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for assistance.
Survivors Who Are Not U.S. Citizens Could Be Eligible for Disaster Assistance
Survivors of Tropical Storm Ida, including those who are not U.S. citizens, may be eligible for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Residents of any of the designated New Jersey counties for FEMA’s Individuals and Households Assistance Program – Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties – are encouraged to apply for assistance by going online at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585).
Help might be available to non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens. Their status will not be jeopardized by requesting disaster assistance.
A “qualified alien” generally includes:
- Individuals who are lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders).
- Asylees, refugees, or aliens whose deportation status is being withheld.
- Aliens paroled into the U.S. for at least one year.
- Aliens granted conditional entry.
- Cuban/Haitian entrants.
- Certain aliens subjected to extreme cruelty or victims of a severe form of human trafficking, including persons with a “T” or “U” visa.
A parent or guardian who isn’t eligible may register for assistance on behalf of a child under age 18 who is a citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien. No information will be gathered on the adult’s status.
If you are unsure of your eligibility, FEMA will assist you through the process when you call. Alternatively, you may consult with an immigration specialist, prior to calling FEMA, to inquire if your immigration status meets the criteria for qualified alien.
Small Business Disaster Assistance
The SBA is offering low-interest disaster assistance loans to New Jersey businesses and residents. For more information and to apply, CLICK HERE.
USDA is offering advice for food safety and disaster assistance for agricultural producers.
New Jersey Disaster Resources
- Flood-damaged cars: Your top questions answered
- NJDOBI Offers Guidance on Filing Homeowners, Auto Insurance Claims to NJ Residents Impacted by Tropical Storm Ida
- Filing a Business Claim After a Disaster
- Homeowners’ Post Disaster Insurance Manual
- Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials
- Living through a Catastrophic Event Brochure
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Homeowners Information
- Insuring Your Home Consumer Guide
- Home Insurance Basics
- Homeowner’s Insurance Frequently Asked Questions for Insurance Proceeds Checks
Insurance Information Institute Homeowners Information
- What is homeowners insurance?
- What coverage is included in a standard homeowners insurance policy?
- Are there different types of policies?
- What type of insurance do I need for a co-op or condo?
- Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooding?
- What types of disasters are covered by my homeowners insurance?
- What Type of Insurance Do I Need If I’m Renting Out My Home?
- Trees and Insurance
- Understanding Your Insurance Deductible
Auto Insurance Information
- New Jersey Auto Insurance Buyer’s Guide
- Consider what insurance coverage you need.
- First, review your policy and check your current limits for each coverage section such as liability, collision, comprehensive, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) which is the medical coverage for auto accidents, and additional mandatory features such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Next, decide whether your current coverage selections are at the levels that best fit your needs, and whether selected deductibles-which you will have to pay if you make a claim-are at amounts that you can afford. The Department provides an interactive guide to determine which coverage is best for you: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/autoplanner.htm
New Jersey Insurance Information
- New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance
- New Jersey Legislature
- New Jersey State Government
- New Jersey Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- New Jersey Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
- New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation
- Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau
- New Jersey Statutes
- New Jersey Regulations