The Department of Education (ED)
has responded to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria with a resource guide on federal student aid intended
to answer questions from postsecondary students affected by any of the three storms.
The resource guide offers a few
pointers that could alleviate some students’ anxiety. For example, students receiving
federal aid will be pleased to learn that disaster-related support from the
state or federal government will not be counted as income when determining
federal student aid eligibility.
Borrowers affected by a natural
disaster are also entitled to a so-called “administrative forbearance” of up to
90 days—essentially a three-month pause in loan payments. ED notes that
interest will continue to accrue, although it will not be added to the
principal. Affected borrowers will also receive a 15-day extension to file any
documentation required by loan servicers.
Since all three hurricanes were
federally declared as Major Disasters, ED is entitled under law to take additional
steps to help affected students, educational institutions, lenders and loan
the large numbers of Americans struggling to recover from a series of
destructive hurricanes, Representatives Richard Neal (D-MA) and Frank Pallone,
Jr. (D-NJ) have asked the administration to extend the enrollment periods for
both the Affordable Care Act Marketplace and Medicare insurance through January
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to calls for hurricane
assistance by sending hundreds of medical personnel and public health officials
to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Personnel from the National
Disaster Medical System (NDMS) set up a base of operations with medical
equipment and supplies adjacent to Centro Medico, an emergency and trauma
center in San Juan. Medical professionals from NDMS and U.S. Public Health
Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps are staffing the location to assist the
center and local hospitals that are seeing an overwhelming number of patients
or are short-staffed as the territory works to respond and recover from the
team of public health and environmental health experts from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention have deployed to assist Puerto Rico and the U.S.
Virgin Islands with assessments of shelters, water systems and other
environmental health needs. They will assess public health requirements so that
HHS can respond to those needs.