And you can apply for it starting today.

Normally, when local and state resources are overwhelmed by a severe disaster, the state's governor has to request that the president issue a Major Disaster Declaration in order to activate federal assistance programs for victims.

That declaration was signed on Tuesday by President Barack Obama.

An online article said that FEMA director Craig Fugate stated that it was a rare move for Obama to declare New York and New Jersey areas of "major disaster" even as the catastrophe was still unfolding, so luckily for vicitms of the storm, things will be moving along more quickly than they might have been.

According to FEMA's website:

There are three ways to apply for assistance:

  • Apply Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Apply via a smartphone at m.fema.gov
  • Apply by Phone:
    • Call (800) 621-3362.
    • Call TTY (800) 462-7585 for people with speech or hearing disabilities.