NEWARK, N.J. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the deadline for filing Proof of Loss forms with National Flood Insurance Program carriers for claims stemming from Superstorm Sandy. The new deadline is April 28, 2014. A Proof of Loss form is used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under the policy, and must be submitted with clear evidence to document these claims.

“Gathering the necessary evidence that must be submitted with a Proof of Loss form, like reports from engineers or detailed line-by-line estimates from contractors, can be difficult and take a surprising amount of time to obtain,” said Jessica Limbacher, Esq., staff attorney with Volunteer Lawyers for Justice’s Disaster Legal Response Program (DLRP).

“This extension will give victims of Sandy the time they need to prepare these documents. However, it is critical to note that the deadline for filing a lawsuit to challenge a flood insurance payout is one year from the date of denial or partial denial, and this deadline has not been extended,” added Limbacher. Anyone who intends to later file a lawsuit should submit a Proof of Loss form as soon as possible. Individuals are encouraged to submit this form even if their claim is pending with the insurer and/or they have not received all of the flood insurance money they feel they are owed. This is the second extension FEMA has granted to victims of Sandy. The usual deadline for Proof of Loss documentation is 60 days after the date of loss.

Victims of Superstorm Sandy are encouraged to call VLJ’s toll-free main line at (855) 301-2525 to find out if VLJ can assist them with questions on Proof of Loss filings, legal deadlines, and any other legal issues stemming from the storm. VLJ created its DLRP shortly after Superstorm Sandy’s arrival in New Jersey last fall. VLJ’s DLRP also includes free walk-in legal aid clinics (no appointment required) and extended representation for qualifying clients.

VLJ is holding the following clinics in October:

Atlantic County:

-       Date/Time: Friday, October 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

-       Location: St. Andrew by the Sea Lutheran Church at 936 Baltic Avenue in Atlantic City

Bergen County:

-       Dates/Time: Thursday, October 17, from 6 to 8 p.m.

-       Location: Recovery Information Center in the Moonachie Presbyterian Church at 221 Moonachie Road in Moonachie

Hudson County:

-       Dates/Time: Thursday, October 24, from 6 to 8 p.m.

-       Location: Hoboken Elks Lodge at 1005 Washington Street in Hoboken

Monmouth County:

-       Dates/Time: Friday, October 18, from 9 a.m. to noon

-       Location: Brookdale Community College-Hazlet Campus at One Crown Plaza in Hazlet

Ocean County:

-       Dates/Time: Friday, October 25, from 9 a.m. to noon

-       Location: Brick Presbyterian Church at 111 Drum Point Road in Brick

Anyone with a storm-related legal issue, regardless of their income and assets, is eligible to meet with a volunteer attorney at the legal clinic for advice and/or brief service. Clinic participants should bring all relevant documents, such as insurance policies and correspondence with insurers, mortgages and recent statements, correspondence with FEMA, and leases and correspondence with landlords.