Updated March 28 at 4:28pm

Work continues to help those affected by Sandy


PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Internal Revenue Service are among the agencies working to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama approved Rhode Island’s amended request for a disaster declaration and for individual assistance in Newport and Washington counties.

The approved amendment includes individual assistance – including the individuals and households program, disaster unemployment assistance, disaster legal service and crisis counseling – and small business administration disaster loans for Newport and Washington counties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency partnered with local and state officials to establish three disaster recovery centers in southern Rhode Island to help facilitate the individual assistance application process.

The Washington County centers are located at 131 Asa Pond Rd. in South Kingstown and 62 Crandall Ave. in Westerly, and the Newport County center is located at 23 Valley Rd. in Middletown. Affected residents will be able to speak one on one with FEMA recovery representatives.

“We want to ensure everyone who was impacted or displaced by Sandy gets the assistance they qualify for,” said Sen. Jack Reed in a statement. “These Disaster Recovery Centers can be a real help in providing face-to-face assistance. But registering online with FEMA before you show up will help streamline the process.”

Those looking to find out what types of assistance they may be eligible to receive need to register with FEMA at 800-621-3362, at disasterassistance.gov or on a smartphone at m.fema.gov.

FEMA can offer several categories of assistance, including rental payments for temporary housing and grants for home repairs or replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance.

Currently, only residents in Newport and Washington counties are eligible for individual assistance. Public assistance declarations have been approved for Washington, Newport, Bristol and Kent counties.

The IRS is also doing its part to help the victims of Sandy and victims who reside in Newport and Washington counties qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.

President Obama declared Newport and Washington counties a federal disaster area, which permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside in or have businesses in the area.

According to a release, certain deadlines falling on or after Oct. 26, and on or before Feb. 1, have been postponed to Feb. 1, 2013. The IRS is also waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Oct. 26 and on or before Nov. 26 so long as deposits are made by Nov. 26, 2012.

If a taxpayer in either Newport or Washington counties receives a penalty notice from the IRS, they should call (800_ 829-1040 to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that otherwise would apply.


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