Hurricane Ida Information
Authored By: PALawHelp.org (Adapted from a resource created by LawHelpNY)
Hurricane Ida Impacts
The remnants of Hurricane Ida dramatically affected several areas in the state of Pennsylvania from August 31 through September 5, 2021.
A major disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been approved and will provide federal funding and services to eligible individuals and households through the Individual Assistance program and impacted communities through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
The major disaster declaration for Individual Assistance for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York counties was initially announced on September 10. An announcement adding two additional counties, Bedford and Northampton, to the declaration was announced on September 24. Individual Assistance is now available in all of these counties:
Assistance for all 67 counties in Pennsylvania is also available through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Impacted residents of affected counties should apply with FEMA using one of these methods:
- Online at DisasterAssistance.gov,
- Through the FEMA mobile app, or
- By calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585.
Helpline services are available seven days a week from 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM ET. Multilingual operators are available.
FEMA also has Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) Teams deployed to provide hands-on assistance with registration and to answer questions.
IMPORTANT DEADLINE: The application deadline is 60 days from the date of the declaration, September 10, 2021.
For more information on the FEMA process, check out the Figuring Out FEMA guide from The Center for Urban Pedagogy.
Appealing FEMA's Determination
If you were denied assistance from FEMA or the award is not enough to cover for damages, you have a right to appeal FEMA’s determination.
If you need to appeal a FEMA denial on your own, you can use this interactive form from DisasterLegalAid.org to generate an appeal and a letter requesting a copy of your file.
YOU MUST THEN MAIL OR FAX THE LETTERS TO FEMA TO FILE YOUR APPEAL.
IMPORTANT DEADLINE: If you would like to appeal FEMA's determination on assistance, you have 60 days from the date on the determination letter to do so.
Pennsylvania Disaster Legal Aid Helpline - Pennsylvania Remnants of Hurricane Ida - CALL: (877) 429-5994
A toll-free legal aid helpline is now available for victims of Hurricane Ida and the resultant damage in Pennsylvania. The service, which allows callers to request the assistance of a lawyer, is a partnership between Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, MidPenn Legal Services, Inc., North Penn Legal Services, Inc., Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
How to get legal help
Low-income individuals can contact the legal aid program serving their county for assistance. To locate the program serving your county please visit the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Provider list at https://palegalaid.net/legal-aid-providers-in-pa.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association has an Online Lawyer Referral Service where you can request a referral to an attorney to address your problems. To use the service visit https://www.pabar.org/site/For-the-Public/Find-a-Lawyer.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association also operates, in partnership with the American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Free Legal Answers, a service where you can ask a volunteer attorney specific legal questions. The service is available at https://pa.freelegalanswers.org/.
What legal issues can I expect to see following a natural disaster?
Legal issues are extremely common following a natural disaster.
Sometimes, you may not even recognize an issue as being a legal one.
Immediately After a Disaster
- Landlord Tenant Issues
- Applying for government benefits
- Applying for loans
- Getting covered by insurance
- Replacing lost documents
- Wage theft
1-6 Months After a Disaster
- Appealing FEMA denials
- Renewing rent subsidies or other government benefits
- Evictions and repair questions
- Proving homeownership and "clearing" property title
- Disputing insurance claim coverage amounts
- Contractor scams and disputes
- Powers of attorney for childcare or the elderly
- Modifying parenting orders to reflect new home and school locations
- Estate planning
6 Months to Years After a Disaster
- Home loan foreclosures
- Defending against FEMA "recoupment" (when they ask for assistance back)
- Applying for disaster tax relief
- Disputes about home elevation or significant home damage for permitting
- Housing repair and mold issues
A lawyer may help you in several ways, including:
- Obtaining assistance from FEMA and other benefits available to disaster survivors, including if you have been denied assistance
- Navigating insurance claims and disputes
- Landlord-tenant problems
- Replacing important documents
- Legal Aid of Southeastern PA - Hurricane Ida
- University or Pennsylvania Human Resources - Hurricane Ida Aid Resources
- Representative Nancy Guenst - Hurricane Ida recovery
Figuring Out FEMA
This is a free and visual guide that breaks down the process of enrolling in FEMA’s Individual Assistance program.
The guide also explains how to appeal FEMA’s decision if you are denied aid or need more assistance and explains your rights when interacting with FEMA. Go to Figuring Out FEMA.
Disaster Distress Helpline
This hotline is dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.
Disability & Disaster Hotline
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies hosts this hotline that provides information, referrals, guidance, technical assistance and resources to people with disabilities, their families, allies, organizations assisting disaster impacted individuals with disabilities and others seeking assistance with immediate and urgent disaster-related needs.
The Disaster Hotline is always available for intake calls, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-626-4959. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Pennsylvania Government Press Releases