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Hurricane Sandy: Disaster Relief

Date: 11/27/2012 04:43

Hurricane Sandy: Disaster Relief for Businesses

Below are some resources that include links to important information for those seeking help during the recovery process.

Empire State Development (ESD) has been reaching out to businesses to identify their most immediate needs and help ensure access to every tool possible for a full and speedy recovery. Several ESD business assistance programs are still in development. If you’d like us to contact you once programs are on-line, please go to www.esd.ny.gov/sandyAssistance.asp and fill out our Business Information Form. ESD will follow up with you.

As a first step, please register with FEMA for federal disaster assistance and to receive a FEMA ID. To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov. Several of the non-federal programs listed here require applicants to have a FEMA ID.

To be eligible for federal disaster assistance, businesses must be located in New York City or any of the following counties: Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, or Westchester.

Business Counseling

Those with questions about insurance / filing insurance claims should call the NYS Department of Financial Services emergency hotline. Call 1-800-339-1759 to speak to an expert, 24/7.

Small businesses can receive counseling on disaster assistance programs from NYS Small Business Development Centers. For businesses that need technical assistance, please visit the NYS Small Business Development Center website (http://www.nyssbdc.org) or call 1-800-732-SBDC to find the nearest location to receive support with disaster assistance programs and business recovery planning.

Federal Financial Assistance

The US Small Business Administration offers two types of disaster-relief loans to businesses. The Business Physical Disaster Loan helps businesses and not-for-profits in disaster areas replace or restore damaged property. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan is similar but helps address economic damage (e.g. lost revenue), regardless of physical damage. For more information, please visit www.sba.gov or call 1-800-659-2955. 

New York State Financial Assistance

Small businesses affected by business interruption due to Hurricane Sandy can apply to the New York State Emergency Small Business Loan Program.

Empire State Development, the New York Bankers Association and the New York Business Development Corporation have established a $10 million program that will award loans of up to $25,000 to businesses with fewer than 100 employees in the counties designated as disaster areas: Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, and the five boroughs of New York City.  Loans are interest- and payment-free for six months and then have 1% interest for two years.  

If your business is located in Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page to give an initial description of your business and the damage it sustained and ESD will respond within 24 hours with application information.  NYC-based businesses should apply through www.nyc.gov/sbs or call 311 and ask for “NYC Business Emergency Loan.”  

ESD supports several organizations through its Small Business Revolving Loan Fund who have made loans available to businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York City. Each organization also counsels loan recipients on financial literacy and available disaster recovery programs.

New York City Financial Assistance

Small businesses affected by business interruption due to Hurricane Sandy can apply for NYC Business Emergency Loans.

NYC Business Solutions and the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) will administer the loan program, funded by the City of New York and Goldman Sachs.  Loans available up to $25,000. Loans interest-free for the first six months and 1% interest for the following 24 months.  For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/sbs or call 311 and ask for “NYC Business Emergency Loan.”

The NYC Industrial Development Agency will waive up to $100,000 in sales taxes on reconstruction materials and equipment. To learn more about the Hurricane Emergency Sales Tax Exemption Program, please visit www.nyc.gov/sbs or email smitsugi@nycedc.com.

New York City Material Assistance

Free co-working space, supplies, and other services available for businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Businesses can access desk space, power, internet and more at many locations throughout the five boroughs. Please visit  www.nyc.gov/sbs  or call 311 and ask for NYC Business Solutions for more information. The NYC Rapid Repair Program helps homeowners and commercial owners of residential property to quickly and efficiently repair hurricane-damaged homes. Owners must first register with FEMA and received a FEMA ID (see top of page) and then register with the City online at www.on.nyc.gov/QvXC2e. Nassau and Suffolk Counties

In Suffolk County starting Wednesday, November 7th, businesses can visit Small Business Assistance Recovery Centers for access to computers, printers and fax machines as well as counseling services. The Centers are administered by the Suffolk County IDA and are located at the addresses below:

SC Department of Labor                   SC Department of Labor
725 Veterans Memorial Highway      300 Center Drive 
Hauppauge, NY 11788                     Riverhead, NY 11901
(Smithtown for GPS users)

Monday-Friday                                  Monday -Friday 
9:30 AM – 7:30 PM                          9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
631-853-6600                                 631-852-1955

Flexible working capital and fixed asset loans are available for small businesses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Loans are made through New York State’s Targeted Industries Revolving Loan Fund. To learn more, call ESD’s Regional Office at 631-435-0717.

Businesses in Nassau County are invited to apply for a sales tax exemption on expenditures related to recovering from Sandy. Through its Local Enterprise Assistance and Development Services (LEADS) Program, the Nassau County IDA will grant businesses a sales tax exemption letter on furniture, fixtures, equipment, capital improvements, and renovations as they recover from Sandy. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/PUJf7L, call 516-571-1745 or email LEADS@NassauIDA.org. 

Tax Relief

Extended deadlines apply to New York taxpayers, tax professionals, and relief workers directly affected by Hurricane Sandy. 

The New York State Department of Tax and Finance has extended tax deadlines to November 14, 2012. For more information, please visit www.tax.ny.gov.

The US Internal Revenue Service has instituted several tax-relief measures.

This tax relief is automatic for affected taxpayers whose address of record is in the federally-declared disaster area. All other affected taxpayers must self identify for disaster relief by contacting the IRS at 1-866-562-5227. For more information about this assistance, please visit www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p2194.pdf or a local Taxpayer Assistance Center at (212) 719-6631.

Regulatory Relief

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is relaxing permit requirements for repair work. Many projects for stabilization and repair that normally require coastal erosion hazard area and wetlands permits will be covered under a general permit along the coastal areas of Long Island, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. For more information and to apply for the general permit, visit www.dec.ny.gov/public/76659.html

Unemployment Assistance

As an alternative to laying off employees while recovering from Sandy, employers can enter into the NYS Department of Labor Shared Work Program. Instead of cutting staff, you can reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a select group, and the employees will receive Shared Work Benefits to help offset the lower wages. To learn more or apply, please visit http://bit.ly/R0D274

Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is now available to all New Yorkers who lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Sandy. DUA benefits are available to provide financial support to anyone who has lost their job and lives or works in Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties.

This assistance will supplement New York’s existing unemployment insurance system and will expand eligibility to include inpiduals who might otherwise not be covered. To apply for unemployment benefits or DUA, those affected by the storm and have lost their job or income should call the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or 1-877-358-5306 if they live out of state. Applicants should answer the questions to indicate they lost their job due to Hurricane Sandy. In order to receive benefits you must apply by February 4, 2013.

Legal Assistance

Several services are offering free legal assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Types of assistance typically include help with insurance claims, preparing powers of attorney, help with guardianships, and preparing new wills and other lost legal documents. 

For more information, please visit: 

www.abanet.org/disaster/    www.disasterlegalaid.org/   www.lsc.gov/

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