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Hurricane Katrina Resources and Legal Links


Hurricane Katrina has caused much pain and suffering and will have long term consequences. This page is designed to assist victims and to provide links to websites with legal and other relevant information.

Katrina Resources

Katrina has had wide reaching effects in many areas. People are out of work, looking for housing, searching for loved ones, relocating homes and businesses and trying to put their lives back together.

We were lucky. Although our main servers are located in New Orleans, our IT staff was able to keep them up during and after the storm. Many were not so lucky.

USLegalForms.com and it's parent, USLegal.com, have constructed this page to provide links and other information that may assist victims of the storm, especially in reference to putting their legal life back in order.

New Employment positions are open for marketing, sales, IT and attorney staff at our offices in Jackson.

Katrina Legal Documents

Many people have lost all their important legal documents and papers, including deeds, wills, power of attorneys, birth certificates, marriage certificates and others. Please review How to Create a Life Documents File, which contains information on how to replace lost or destroyed documents.


Katrina Links

Disaster Help
American Red Cross
Salvation Army
Network for Good
Katrina Resources
Locating People
Recovery
Social Security Administration
Social Security Card Application
FEMA
Health Information
Katrina Blogs
Department of State information for reporting a lost or stolen passport
Department of State passport homepage
List of links to each state's vital records custodian, addresses, and other information for obtaining birth, death, marriage and divorce records
Information on receiving a certified copy of a consular report of a birth abroad


Disaster Assistance


Education


Locate Missing Persons


Locate Missing Pets/Animal Rescue


1325 Bayou Lane
Slidell, LA
(Located next to Heritage Park)

Other emergency animal shelters:

Lake Charles, LA
Calcasieu Parish Animal Services
5500 A Swift Plant Road
Lake Charles, LA 70615
Contact: David Marcantel, (337) 439-8879 or dmarcantel@cppj.net

Pets are being accepted at Calcasieu Parish Animal Services and at the Lake Charles Civic Center as well.

Lafayette, LA
The Cajundome is a shelter for humans only; pets are being housed a block away at Blackham Coliseum:
Cajundome
444 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506
(337) 265-2100

Managing veterinarian in charge of the Homeland Security setup for the animals:

Dr. Renee Perrier
101 Idlewood Blvd.
Lafayette, LA
(337) 981-8387

Abbeville, LA
Shelters are being established at the BOYS and GIRLS CLUB and the FRUIT OF THE LOOM Factory that is closed. They are reportedly setting up for people and animals.

PetNeighbor.Net - toll free number: 866-673-4705 and photo gallery of displaced pets

Other Information

Media:

Utilities:

Other:

Housing: Government Sources


Housing: Non-Government Sources


Job Assistance


Insurance Company Hotlines:

State Farm: 800-732-5246
Alfa: 888-964-2532
Allstate: 800-547-8676
Nationwide: 800-421-3535
Farmers: 800-435-7764

The Louisiana Department of Insurance has provided a list of insurance companies with their contact numbers at: This link.

Another directory list of insurance companies who have set up special toll-free numbers (commercial, residential, vehicle and boat claims) is also available online at the Web site of the Insurance Information Institute: See this link


Legal Assistance

The American Bar Association, in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has opened 24-hour toll-free numbers for victims of Hurricane Katrina who need free legal assistance or advice:
For Louisiana residents: 800-310-7029
For Mississippi residents: 866-255-4495
For Alabama residents: 800-354-6154


Miscellaneous links

For replacement Louisiana driver's license/identification cards

For evacuees located inside Louisiana: call (225) 925-4610 or 925-3993.
For evacuees located outside of Louisiana:(225) 925-4195 or 1-877-DMV-LINE (1-877-368-5463.

Licensure Verification for Louisiana Physicians and Physician Assistants:
State medical boards procedure- Link
Hospitals and other health care providers procedure- Link

http://www.govbenefits.gov. -Evacuees can apply for the full range of federal benefits administered by the states - such as Medicaid, child care, mental health services, food stamps, housing, and job training.

Legislation, Rulings and other Laws Relating to Katrina

U.S. Treasury Department

Statement by the U.S. Treasury Regarding Requests to Postpone Pension Payments Due on September 15 - http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js2715.htm

In order to help people dislocated by Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Treasury Department announced on 9/13/05 that it was extending the deadline for people to apply to have their Social Security checks deposited directly in their bank accounts.

People have until Sunday to enroll so that their October checks will be provided through direct deposit rather than being mailed. The offer covers both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

To enroll for direct deposit, you may call a nationwide toll-free number - 1-877-654-6347. Recipients need bank accounts to take advantage of direct deposit, and those staff ing the help line will be able to offer guidance on how callers can set up bank accounts.

Other: Emergency Authority Proposal Approved By The Judicial Conference Of The United States Emergency authority to conduct court proceedings outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court. This would authorize circuit, district, and bankruptcy courts to conduct special sessions outside their respective geographic boundaries upon a finding by the respective chief judge (or, if unavailable, the most senior active judge who is available) or the judicial council of the circuit, that, because of emergency conditions, no locations within the boundaries of those courts are reasonably available where such special sessions could be held. United States magistrate judges are currently subject to certain territorial limitations on their powers imposed by the Federal Magistrates Act, 28 U.S.C. 631, et seq. Subsection (d) of this proposed section would make clear that magistrate judges can participate in the emergency extraterritorial sessions of district courts as authorized under subsection (b). See PDF Version.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has temporarily eased hours-of-service regulations for certain carriers to allow vital fuel transportation services to continue. This declaration of emergency is limited to the delivery of fuel and is in effect from 1 p.m. EDT, August 31, 2005, until 1 p.m. EDT, September 14, 2005. See Story

Contacts for verifying ID and relaxed standards at DMVs info are available Here

Obtain expedited copies of documents from the National Personnel Records Center. See Katrina

Contact information for national and local records recovery and records management advice from NARA is available Here.

USDA has also authorized states to pre-load electronic food benefit cards with $50 to immediately purchase food even before application s have been processed to receive complete benefits. These cards can be used by displaced residents as they move from shelters to temporary housing.

USDA Rural Development will provide a six-month moratorium on payments for 50,000 low-income residents in the affected areas. USDA will also be taking an inventory of vacant USDA housing to help accommodate displaced residents.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt declared a public health emergency for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas . This action allows the Department to waive certain Medicare, Medicaid, State Child Health Insurance Program, and HIPAA requirements as well as make grants and enter into contracts more expeditiously during this emergency. See: this link.

The USDA Forest Service is taking another step to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina by temporarily rescinding the fee requirement for campgrounds and the 14-day stay limit for camping on some National Forest System lands in the Southern Region. The normal fee range is $4.00 to $25.00 depending on the location.

As a result of the relocation of Hurricane Katrina victims to many different areas, the Louisiana and Alabama WIC State Agencies have determined that September food instruments may be accepted by any WIC-authorized vendor in any State. See: Link.

USDA School Meals Program-

Local educational agencies that are in jurisdictions which are federally declared disaster areas are not required to do any verification;
For those local educational agencies that have experienced an influx of students from areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, State agencies have the authority to extend the completion deadline to later in the school year or to waive it if warranted;
Families who have been displaced due to Hurricane Katrina are not subject to verification because they are considered homeless;

Further guidance will be coming on completion of the FNS-742, the School Food Authority Verification Summary Report. Local educational agencies affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Starting immediately, authorized retail food stores in the areas listed in certain areas (see attached file) can accept Food Stamp/EBT benefits from Food Stamp customers in exchange for hot foods. If hot foods are purchased with EBT benefits during the approval period, the purchases are NOT subject to sales tax, as the hot foods are considered food stamp eligible.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that they will waive low-income housing tax credit rules that prohibit owners of low-income housing from providing housing to victims of Hurricane Katrina who do not qualify as low-income. The action will expand the availability of housing for disaster victims and their families.

The Internal Revenue Service, in response to shortages of clear diesel fuel caused by Hurricane Katrina, will not impose a tax penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway.

This relief applies beginning August 25, 2005, in Florida, August 30, 2005, in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and August 31, 2005, in the rest of the United States, and will remain in effect through September 15, 2005.

This penalty relief is available to any person that sells or uses dyed fuel for highway use. In the case of the operator of the vehicle in which the dyed fuel is used, the relief is available only if the operator or the person selling the fuel pays the tax of 24.4 cents per gallon. The IRS will not impose penalties for failure to make semimonthly deposits of this tax. IRS Publication 510, Excise Taxes for 2005, has information on the proper method for reporting and paying the tax.

The Internal Revenue Service announced special relief for taxpayers in the Presidential Disaster Areas struck by Hurricane Katrina.

These taxpayers generally will have until Oct. 31, 2005, to file tax returns and submit tax payments. The IRS will abate interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. This relief includes the Sept. 15 due date for estimated taxes and for calendar-year corporate returns with automatic extensions.

"People affected by Hurricane Katrina have more than enough concerns -- taxes shouldn't be among them," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "We hope the relief we are providing will help taxpayers in their financial recovery from this devastating storm."

The disaster areas designated for individual relief include:

31 Louisiana parishes: Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana;
15 Mississippi counties: Amite, Forrest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Stone, Walthall, and Wilkinson; and
Three Alabama counties: Baldwin, Mobile and Washington.

Among the tax relief details are the following:

The Federal Tax Deposit (FTD) Penalty Waiver Period for employment and excise tax deposits is Aug. 29 - Sept. 23, 2005.
The Extension Period for returns and other tax payments is Aug. 29 - Oct. 31, 2005.
The Disaster Designation for this area is "Hurricane Katrina" - taxpayers mark certain relief-related forms with this designation in red.

Bills

H.R.3169 - PDF
Title: To provide the Secretary of Education with waiver authority for students who are eligible for Pell Grants who are adversely affected by a natural disaster.
Sponsor: Rep Keller, Ric [FL-8] (introduced 6/30/2005). Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.R.3668, H.R.3690, S.1628
Latest Major Action: 9/8/2005 Received in the Senate.

H.R.3665 - PDF
To amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide adaptive housing assistance to disabled veterans residing temporarily in housing owned by a family member and to make direct housing loans to Native American veterans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] (introduced 9/7/2005). Cosponsors (4)
Committees: House Veterans' Affairs
Latest Major Action: 9/8/2005 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Provisions of H.R.1773 Incorporated in This Measure, Sections 3 and 4.

H.R.3668 - PDF
To provide the Secretary of Education with waiver authority for students who are eligible for Federal student grant assistance who are adversely affected by a major disaster.
Sponsor: Rep Jindal, Bobby [LA-1] (introduced 9/7/2005) Cosponsors (20)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 9/8/2005 Received in the Senate

H.R.3697
To amend title 11 of the United States Code to provide relief with respect to disaster-related debts incurred by victims of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters.
Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] (introduced 9/8/2005) Cosponsors (31)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 9/8/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

H.R.3698
To provide temporary Medicaid disaster relief in response to Hurricane Katrina, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] (introduced 9/8/2005). Cosponsors (11)
Committees: House Energy and Commerce; House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 9/8/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

H.R.3702
To provide emergency assistance to agricultural producers who have suffered losses as a result of drought, Hurricane Katrina, and other natural disasters occurring during 2005, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] (introduced 9/8/2005). Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Agriculture
Latest Major Action: 9/8/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

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