2002-10-05 / Community

Grant Deadline For

WTC Victims Extended

WTC Victims Extended

The Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program's registration deadline for victims of the World Trade Center disaster has been extended to Nov. 30, 2002, announced federal and state recovery officials.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) extended the deadline following a request by Governor George E. Pataki earlier in the month.

Under IFG guidelines for the World Trade Center disaster, residents living in the five counties of New York City (New York, Bronx, Kings, Queens and Richmond) may be eligible to receive assistance for home repairs, replacement of personal property, and reimbursement for air purifiers, air filters, vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, and repair or replacement of air conditioners. Those living outside of New York City may apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. To date, more than 10,100 households have received assistance through the IFG program.

"It is important that New Yorkers understand that assistance is available and that they have every opportunity to seek this help through the IFG program," said FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "I would encourage anyone who was affected by the attack on the World Trade Center to call and register today."

"I would like to thank FEMA and Director Joe Allbaugh for this vital assistance," said Governor George E. Pataki. "We will continue to work together to ensure that all New Yorkers get the help they need."

Due to publicity surrounding the lower Manhattan cleanup program announced in May, interest in the program swelled among New Yorkers during the ensuing months. This increase was exacerbated by hot summer weather and by a series of misleading promotions by purveyors of air purifiers and air conditioners. The increased interest and applications generated the need for the extension.

FEMA's recovery officials are working closely with IFG administrators at the New York State Department of Labor in Albany to process the influx of applications as efficiently as possible. Streamlining measures include:

1. Increased staffing assistance from FEMA and New York State at IFG offices in Albany, which now consists of 13 FEMA staff members supplementing 57 state IFG personnel;

2. More than 140 FEMA staff members assigned to support New York State Department of Labor in processing IFG applications;

3. The implementation of a new IFG assistance and processing department at FEMA Application Assistance Center in lower Manhattan;

4. Accelerated training and technical support for IFG personnel in Albany;

5. The rerouting of applicant calls to the IFG Helpline from offices in Albany to one of more than 50 Helpline agents at FEMA processing centers; and

6. The addition of FEMA optic scanning capability, reducing the processing time of returned applicant documents and receipts, and subsequent reimbursement.

Those who have not yet registered should call FEMA's teleregistration line at 1-800-462-9029 by November 30, 2002 to begin the process. Operators are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Interpreters are available to accommodate the many language communities in the New York area. The speech- or learning- impaired should call 1-800-462-7585.

The FEMA Applicant Assistance Center at 141 Worth Street (the former DMV building) in lower Manhattan remains open to help new applicants, as well as those who have already registered. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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