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Disaster Aid Expanding in Ian’s Aftermath

Pres. Biden declared a major disaster in 13 Fla. counties so far. Floridians can apply for help from FEMA, which might also help offset insurance deductibles.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – President Joe Biden declared a major-disaster declaration covering 13 Florida counties early Thursday that could be expanded to more areas as Florida tries to recover from Hurricane Ian, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Friday.

“We are here to support this recovery. We know we’re still in the very active response stage,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said during a media briefing with Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to The News Service of Florida. “But we’ve already started planning for what the recovery is going to be because we know that this is going to be a very complicated and complex recovery.

“Right now, there are 13 counties that have been designated for individual assistance, but we will add more as we continue to do assessments and it’s safe to go into those neighborhoods,” Criswell added.

“Folks in Florida … if you don’t have enough insurance, it means the federal government will provide individual assistance of [up to] $37,900 for home repairs (and) another $37,900 for lost property – everything from an automobile to a lost wedding ring,” Biden said when announcing the declaration at FEMA headquarters in Washington.

How to apply for FEMA help

Florida homeowners and renters in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Seminole counties counties (the list might be expanded) affected by Hurricane Ian may apply for FEMA disaster assistance:

When applying, have the following information ready:

  • Current phone number
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you’re now staying
  • Social Security number
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • Banking information if you want direct deposit
  • If insured, the policy number or agent and/or company name

Other important details when applying for FEMA assistance

  • Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage.
  • Keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair. Survivors may be eligible to If you have homeowners, renters or flood insurance, file a claim as soon as possible. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If your policy does not cover all your disaster expenses, you may be eligible for federal assistance.
  • Assistance may include financial help with temporary lodging and home repairs, as well as other disaster-related expenses.
  • FEMA posted a video about the application process on YouTube.
  • For more information on Florida’s recovery and to apply for FEMA aid, visit the Hurricane Ian page on FEMA’s website.

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