How to Apply for Assistance after Hurricane Irma
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has put a process in place for all victims of the most recent natural disaster in the U.S. – hurricane Irma. This article will present in detail what you should to do to get the assistance you need and how to apply for it either as an individual or a business.
Ways to apply as an individual
The easiest way to apply for assistance is online on www.DisasterAssistance.gov. There you will need to answer a series of questions to help the Agency’s officers determine your eligibility and the type of help you require. If you don’t have an internet connection and you can’t get WiFi near you, you can call the following phone numbers to make an application:
- (800) 621-3362
- TTY (800) 462-7585
The phone lines are open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. As an individual you can apply for assistance within 60 days of the date of declaration.
If you have applied online you can also keep track of the progress of your application and find out where you can find shelter, food, water and medical resources.
If you are eligible you will receive an Individual Assistance grant, which you don’t have to repay and it does not depend on your income.
What documents you need to apply as an individual
- Social Security number
- Address of the damaged property
- Current contact address
- Current contact telephone number
- Insurance information
- Total household annual income
- Routing and account number for your checking or savings account.
- A description of your disaster-caused damage and losses
For reference visit https://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance
What can FEMA assist individuals with
- Primary home damage or loss – you can get assistance from FEMA if you have lost your primary accommodation, whether rented or owned by you. If you have home insurance the help from FEMA will only cover damaged items that are not included in the insurance policy.
- Disaster-caused medical and dental expenses
- Disaster-caused childcare expenses
- Disaster-caused funeral expenses
- Essential household items
- Moving and storage expenses
- Sanitary products
Prepare for home inspection
If you have applied for individual assistance to FEMA, your damaged property will be visited by inspectors to assess the damage before any funds are transferred to your account. A statement issued by FEMA a couple of days ago advised homeowners and renters who have made applications for assistance to clean up the affected properties before the inspection. However, applicants should take pictures of the place before cleaning and keep the receipts for any products and services purchases related to clearing the property after the hurricane. More about this statement you can read here.
What Help is available for businesses
The process for assistance application to FEMA after hurricane Irma is similar for the business owner as to individuals. However, organizations will not get a grant, but a loan. These are called Small Business Bridge Loans and were announced by Rick Scott last Thursday, as reported by the South Florida Business Journal.
The loans are interest-free and provided for a short time, essentially between the time when damages occurred and the time when the business is able to use its insurance to cover any costs. The maximum amount you can receive is $25,000 and the period for which the loan is granted is between 90 and 180 days. Applications are open until October 31, 2017.
You are eligible for the assistance if you are a business owner of an organization with up to 100 employees, located in any of the 67 Florida counties and generally fall into the Small Business bracket. Your business must have been established before September 4, 2017, and you need to provide a proof of hurricane-related financial and physical damages.
Visit the official website for the program www.floridadisasterloan.org to get more information or contact an officer via phone at 850-898-3489 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. Business disaster loans are also available.
As a local business, we, at FAS CPA and Consultants are ready to contribute to the recovery of our community. We are happy to assist any affected Floridians, whether individuals or corporations, who need help and advice on applying for FEMA assistance. Please make sure to contact us with any questions and queries you may have.
Leave your comment below or send us an email if you need any further information.
Fulton Abraham Sanchez, the founder of FAS CPA & Consultants of Miami, FL, is a Certified Public Accountant specialized in Tax Planning. You can email him to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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