Hurricane Ian - Business Assistance

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FEMA Press Releases

News Release
FEMA Extends Deadline to Apply for Hurricane Ian Federal
Disaster Assistance to Jan. 12

Nov 21, 2022

BRANDON, Fla. – At the request of the State of Florida, Hurricane Ian survivors who suffered damage to their property have additional time to apply for federal disaster assistance.

FEMA has extended the application deadline to Jan. 12, 2023, for survivors in Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia counties.

There are multiple Disaster Recovery Centers operating throughout the impacted area. To find a center close to you, go online to: DRC Locator or floridadisaster.org, or text DRC along with your Zip Code to 43362.

It is not necessary to visit a Disaster Recovery Center to apply. Survivors can go online to disasterassistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call 800-621-3362. The line is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time. Help is available in most languages. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone, or other services, give FEMA the number for that service. To view an accessible video about how to apply visit: Three Ways to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance - YouTube.

If you have insurance, you are encouraged to file a claim for damage to your home, personal property, and vehicles before you apply for FEMA assistance. FEMA cannot duplicate other sources of assistance you may have received.

News Release
Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Collier County
BRANDON, Fla. – FEMA and the State of Florida are opening a Disaster Recovery Center in Collier County.

Nov 15, 2022

Eagle Lakes Community Park (Community Center Building)
11565 Tamiami Trail East
Naples, FL 34113
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Disaster Recovery Centers provide disaster survivors with information from Florida state agencies, FEMA, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Survivors can get help applying for federal assistance and disaster loans, update applications and learn about other resources available.

There are several Disaster Recovery Centers operating throughout the impacted area. To find a center close to you, go online to: DRC Locator or floridadisaster.org, or you can text DRC along with your Zip Code to 43362.

It is not necessary to visit a center to apply. Survivors can go online to disasterassistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call 800-621-3362. The line is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Help is available in most languages. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service. To view an accessible video about how to apply visit: Three Ways to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance - YouTube.

Interpretation services and translated materials are available at these centers to help you communicate in the language with which you feel most comfortable. Disaster Recovery Center locations are chosen for their accessibility, with the goal of reaching as many people as possible.

In addition to the centers, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams are canvassing neighborhoods in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian to help residents apply for FEMA assistance and answer questions about federal assistance. DSA teams wear FEMA attire and have federal photo identification badges. There is no charge for service.

FEMA Individual Assistance can help with temporary lodging expenses, basic home repairs, and other essential disaster-related needs. Learn more at www.fema.gov/disaster/4673 

FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Relocating in Collier County
Collier Museum at the Government Center 

Tuesday, November 8 – Sunday, November 13
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 

The State of Florida and FEMA will continue to operate a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Collier County. 

New (Temporary) Location:
Collier Museum at Government Center
3331 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, FL 34112
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Dates of Operation: Tuesday, November 8 – Sunday, November 13
Soft Opening Date/Time: November 7, after 1:00 p.m. 

Starting November 14, after 1:00 pm, the DRC will relocate from the Collier Museum to the Donna Fiala Community Center, 11565 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, FL 34113, and will be open from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m., until further notice. 

Disaster Recovery Centers provide disaster survivors with information from Florida state agencies, FEMA, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Survivors can get help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available, learn about the appeals process and get updates on applications. 

In addition to visiting a center, you can apply by going online to www.disasterassistance.gov, using the FEMA mobile app or calling (800) 621-3362. Help is available in most languages. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service. 

Disaster Recovery Centers are accessible to people with disabilities. They have assistive technology equipment that allows disaster survivors to interact with staff. Video Remote Interpreting is available and in-person sign language is available by request. The centers also have accessible parking, ramps, and restrooms. 

FEMA Individual Assistance can help with temporary lodging expenses, basic home repairs and other essential disaster-related needs. 

For more information about Hurricane Ian recovery in Florida, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4673 and www.floridadisaster.org/. Follow us on Twitter: @FLSERT and @FEMARegion4.

October 10, 2022

DR-4673-FL NR-16

State News Desk: [email protected]

FEMA News Desk: 770-220-5292 | [email protected]

Learn more at fema.gov/disaster/4673 October 10, 2022

News Release

It’s Important to Submit an SBA Loan Application

TALLAHASSEE – FEMA may refer survivors of Hurricane Ian to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with information on how to apply for a disaster loan. Homeowners, renters, business owners and certain nonprofits may be eligible. It’s important to submit the loan application as soon as possible.

If your application is approved, you are not obligated to accept an SBA loan but failure to return the application may disqualify you from other possible financial assistance from FEMA and State of Florida.

SBA disaster loans are the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds for survivors. SBA offers long-term, low- interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.

SBA disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other resources. Survivors should not wait for an insurance settlement before submitting an SBA loan application. They may discover they were underinsured for the deductible, labor and materials required to repair or replace their home.

You may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. Paper applications may be requested by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services or send an email to [email protected]. There is no cost to apply for an SBA disaster loan.

SBA disaster loan specialists are available to speak with homeowners and renters at all Florida Disaster Recovery Centers, which are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Homeowners may be eligible for a disaster loan up to $200,000 for primary residence structural repairs or rebuilding. SBA may also be able to help homeowners and renters with up to $40,000 to replace important personal property, including automobiles damaged or destroyed in the disaster.

October 4, 2022

DR-4673-FL NR 0

State News Desk: [email protected]

FEMA News Desk: FEMA News Desk: 770-220-5292 | [email protected]

News Release

Understanding Your FEMA Letter

TALLAHASSEE – Hurricane Ian survivors who applied for assistance from FEMA will receive a letter from FEMA in the mail or via email.

The letter will explain your application status and how to respond. It is important to read the letter carefully because it will include the amount of any assistance FEMA may provide and information on the appropriate use of disaster assistance funds.

Applicants may need to submit additional information or supporting documentation for FEMA to continue to process an application for financial assistance. Examples of missing documentation may include:

  • Proof of insurance coverage
  • Settlement of insurance claims or denial letter from insurance provider
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of occupancy
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof that the damaged property was the applicant’s primary residence at the time of the disaster

If you have questions about your letter, call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 to find out what information FEMA needs.

A FEMA inspection may be required to determine whether a home is safe, sanitary, accessible and functional. FEMA considers the following factors in the home inspection:

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC).
  • Access and egress, including privately-owned roads, privately-owned bridges, and privately-owned docks.
  • Blocking, leveling, and anchoring of a mobile home, and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical, oil, and fuel lines and tanks.
  • The exterior of the home is structurally sound, including the doors, roof and windows.
  • The electricity, gas, heat, plumbing and sewer or septic systems function properly.
  • The interior’s habitable areas are structurally sound, including the ceiling and floors.
  • The home is capable of functioning for its intended purpose.
  • There is safe access to and from the home.

FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance. FEMA assistance only provides funds for basic work to make a home

habitable, including items such as toilets, a roof, critical utilities, windows and doors.

Appealing FEMA’s Decision

Applicants who disagree with FEMA’s decision, or the amount of assistance, may submit an appeal letter and documents supporting their claim, such as a contractor’s estimate for home repairs.

FEMA cannot duplicate assistance provided by another source, such as insurance settlements. However, those who are underinsured may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled by submitting insurance settlement or denial documents to FEMA. FEMA does not provide assistance for insurance deductibles.

Appeals must be in writing. In a signed and dated letter, explain the reason(s) for the appeal. It should also include:

  • Applicant’s full name
  • Disaster number (DR-4673 for Florida)
  • Address of the pre-disaster primary residence
  • Applicant’s current phone number and address
  • The FEMA application number on all documents

If someone other than an applicant or co-applicant writes the appeal letter, that person must sign it and provide FEMA with a signed statement authorizing the individual to act on behalf of the applicant.

Letters must be postmarked within 60 days of the date of the determination letter. Appeal letters and supporting documents may be submitted to FEMA by fax or mail or via a FEMA online account. To set up an online account, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Apply Online” and follow the directions.

By mail: FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-7055 By fax: 800-827-8112 Attention: FEMA

For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance go to, youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.

For information on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Ian, visit floridadisaster.org/info and fema.gov/

October 1, 2022 

DR-4673-FL NR 0

State News Desk: 850-815-4940 |[email protected]

FEMA News Desk: 770-220-5292 |  [email protected]

News Release

Be Alert to Fraud After a Disaster

ATLANTA – Disaster survivors should be aware that con artists and criminals may try to obtain money or steal personal information through fraud or identity theft after a disaster. In some cases, thieves try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers they have stolen from survivors.

If a FEMA Inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information may have been used without your knowledge to create a FEMA application. If so, please inform the inspector that you did not apply for FEMA assistance so they can submit a request to stop further processing of the application.

If you did not apply for assistance but receive a letter from FEMA, please call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. The helpline will submit a request to stop any further processing of that application.

If you do wish to apply for FEMA assistance after stopping an application made in your name without your knowledge, the Helpline will assist you in creating a new application.

Scams

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams, housing inspectors and other officials will be working in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian in Florida. They carry official identification badges with photo IDs. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration representatives never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.

Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant in return for payment.

Be wary of unexpected phone calls or visits to your home from people claiming to be FEMA housing inspectors or people claiming they work for FEMA. FEMA representatives will have your FEMA application number.

Don’t give your banking information to a person claiming to be a FEMA housing inspector. FEMA inspectors are never authorized to collect your personal financial information.

If you believe you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to your local police or sheriff’s department or contact the Office of the Attorney General by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or visit myfloridalegal.com. To file a fraud complaint, go online to Scam Report (myfloridalegal.com).

If you suspect fraudulent activity involving FEMA, you can report it to the FEMA Fraud Branch at: [email protected], fax: (202) 212-4926 or write to: FEMA Fraud and Internal Investigation Division,

400 C Street SW Mail Stop 3005, Washington, DC 20472-3005.

Learn more at fema.gov/disaster/4673

If you suspect identity theft, please visit Identity Theft | FTC Consumer Information or IdentityTheft.gov.

For information on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Ian, visit floridadisaster.org/info and fema.gov/

Business Resources

For any businesses affected by Hurricane Ian, please view a list of provided state and federal resources below.

Economic assistance (business loans) for private sector businesses may be available based on the magnitude of the disaster and overall economic impact to the community. Businesses are encouraged to complete the online Business Damage Assessment tool.

This information will provide valuable economic impact information to the state and federal government as economic assistance options are evaluated.

Business Damage Assessment Survey

Application Filing Deadlines

Physical Damage: November 28, 2022

Economic Injury: June 29, 2023

If you are located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

What Types of Disaster Loans are Available?
• Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery, and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
• Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.

What are the Credit Requirements?
• Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
• Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay all loans.
• Collateral – Collateral is required for physical loss loans over $25,000 and all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral but requires you to pledge what is available.

Disaster Declaration Details

Apply for a Disaster Loan

First Lady Casey DeSantis has announced the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund to support Florida’s communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. In partnership with public, private, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities.

To contribute, please visit http://www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

Florida Disaster recovery for businesses (Subset of Floridadisaster.org for business recovery)

Recovery resources for businesses, including links to a damage assessment survey, emergency loan program, unemployment assistance, small business recovery guide, etc.

floridadisaster.biz/ManageContent?PageID=RECOVER

Features of the website include:

  • A disaster planning toolkit to help businesses prepare for hurricanes and other disasters;
  • Critical disaster updates from the State Emergency Operations Center to keep businesses informed during emergencies; and
  • A Business Damage Assessment Survey to help businesses get back up and running after an emergency.
  • County Emergency contact info

Florida Short Time Compensation for Employers Program
Description: Short-Time Compensation (STC) is a temporary alternative work style that will assist employers in keeping their workforce intact. The program permits prorated unemployment compensation benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of an STC plan to avoid the total layoff of some employees.  Phone: (850) 921-3253 – Website: www.floridajobs.org

Florida Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Description: Unemployment benefits for individuals unemployed as a result of the disaster that are not covered by regular state or private unemployment insurance. Applicants have 30 days to file after the disaster is announced. Phone: (800) 204-2418 – Website: www.fluidnow.com

Florida Small Business Resource Network
Description: The Small Business Continuity Services Resource Network (SBCSRN) is a database of Florida professionals identified to fill niche areas for recovery technical assistance in support of small businesses and the Florida economy. Phone: (904) 620-2489 – Website: www.sbrn.org

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Description: License, insurance, and consumer complaint information on building contractors Phone: (800) 435-7352 – Website: www.freshfromflorida.com

Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Description: An order can be given to reduce regulatory processes and provide flexibility for restoring services quickly during a disaster. Phone: (850) 245-2118 – Website: www.floridadep.org

Florida Department of Insurance
Description: Small Business Insurance information assistance Phone: (850) 922-3132 – Website: www.myfloridacfo.com

FEMA
Description: Disaster victims can obtain additional information and apply for disaster assistance through FEMA in various ways. A toll-free number has been established by FEMA for disaster victims to apply for certain types of disaster programs and obtain information about others. You can obtain information by calling. Phone: (800) 621-FEMA (3362) – Website: www.fema.gov

SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration)
Description: Small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives suffering a substantial economic injury may be eligible for an economic injury disaster loan of up to $1.5 million to meet necessary financial obligations – Bills the company would have paid if the disaster had not occurred. Phone: (800) 659-2955 – Website: www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Physical Disaster Loans
SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) Description: Businesses of all sizes may apply for a Physical Disaster Loan of up to 1.5 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory and fixtures. These loans will cover uninsured or under-insured losses. Phone: (800) 659-2955 – Website: www.sba.gov

IRS Excise Tax
Description: IRS will waive tax penalties on disasters on a case-by-case basis. Phone: (800) 829-1040 – Website: www.irs.gov/businesses

The Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) provides daily conference calls at 1:30 p.m., Eastern Time, for private sector and industry partners.

  • Updates provided by SERT: Meteorology, Fuels, Communications, Transportation, Energy
  • Business & Industry Updates: Supply Chain Issues, Closed Locations and Adjusted Hours, Employee Evacuations, Business Priorities, Concerns, and Challenges

Call-in Information: 

  • Number: 888-585-9008
  • Participant Code: 753 329 128
  • Time: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., ET

FEMA Information

FEMA grants are not taxable. Applying for disaster assistance will not affect other federal benefits you may receive.

Accepting a FEMA grant will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or other federal benefit programs.

Disaster grants help survivors pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs, essential personal property replacement and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other sources.

Disaster survivors in Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties with uninsured losses can apply to FEMA for federal assistance.

There are several ways to apply: 1) DisasterAssistance.gov, 2) download the FEMA App for mobile devices, 3) call toll-free 800-621-3362. The line is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Help is available in most languages. To view an accessible video on how to apply visit Three Ways to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance - YouTube.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 28, 2022.

FEMA may provide financial assistance to Hurricane Ian applicants who have immediate or
critical needs because they are displaced from their primary dwelling.

Immediate or critical needs are lifesaving and life-sustaining items, including water, food, first aid, prescriptions,
infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel
for transportation.

Critical Needs Assistance is a one-time $700 payment per household.

Applicants may be eligible for Critical Needs Assistance if they:

▪ Complete a FEMA application.
▪ Provide identity verification.
▪ Note in their application they have critical needs and request financial assistance.
▪ Have a pre-disaster primary residence located in an area designated for Critical Needs Assistance. In Florida,
that includes residents of Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Osceola, Sarasota, Seminole,
and Volusia counties.
 

If you live in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota or Seminole County and were affected by Hurricane Ian, FEMA may be able to help with temporary housing expenses, basic home repairs or other essential disaster-related needs that are not covered by insurance.

There are several ways to apply: Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA app for smartphones or call 800-621-3362. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.
FEMA will ask for:

 

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted.
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • A general list of damage and losses.
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit.
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.
  • If you have homeowners, renters or flood insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If your policy does not cover all your damage expenses, you may be eligible for federal assistance.

Home inspections
If you report that you cannot, or may not be able to, safely live in your home, FEMA may need to perform an inspection of the damaged dwelling. The inspection may be conducted at the site of the damaged dwelling or remotely. FEMA will contact you to let you know how the inspection will take place.

For remote inspections, FEMA inspectors will contact applicants to answer questions about the type and extent of damage sustained. Survivors with minimal damage who can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection. However, they may request an inspection if they later find significant disaster-caused damage.

Remote inspections have no impact on the types of Other Needs Assistance available that do not require an inspection. This includes childcare, transportation, medical and dental, funeral expenses, moving and storage, and Group Flood Insurance Policy Assistance.

For an accessible video on FEMA home inspections, go to youtube.com/watch?v=kXMaDkY3Q2o.

Floridians who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian and live in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties may be eligible for FEMA grants for temporary lodging, basic home repairs, personal property losses and other eligible expenses.

Lodging Expense Reimbursement

Under FEMA’s Individuals and Households program, lodging expenses may be eligible for reimbursement if an applicant:

  • Verifies occupancy in a primary residence within a designated county.
  • Verifies that the primary residence is uninhabitable or inaccessible due to Hurricane Ian.

Rental Assistance for Temporary Housing

FEMA may be able to provide rent, including a security deposit if your primary residence was made uninhabitable by the storm. The assistance includes essential utilities such as electricity and water.

Major Repairs and Out-of-Pocket Expenses

FEMA’s Individuals and Household Program assistance is intended to meet the basic needs of your household, not to restore your home and all your personal property items to a pre-hurricane condition.

  • Housing Assistance” covers repairs to structural parts of your home. This includes windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, utilities (electrical, plumbing and gas systems), and entrance ways. FEMA may also reimburse for repair or replacement of your furnace, well and septic system.
  • Other Needs Assistance” may provide reimbursement to homeowners and renters for such uninsured or underinsured, hurricane-related expenses as:
    • Medical and dental expenses; funeral and burial costs; repair, cleaning, or replacement of clothing; household furniture and appliances; specialized tools used in your occupation; educational materials and moving, storage and other necessary expenses related to the reacted to Hurricane Ian.
    • o Your personally owned, disaster-damaged cars and trucks may also be eligible for repair or replacement by FEMA.
    • o FEMA may be able to reimburse applicants who rented or purchased generators for their primary residence during a power disruption caused by Hurricane Ian.
    • To be eligible for any FEMA Individual Assistance program, you must apply to FEMA. Apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, download the FEMA App for mobile devices, or call toll-free 800-621-3362.If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.

 

If you receive a letter from FEMA saying you are ineligible for assistance, you can appeal the decision and provide more information.

FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster who have uninsured or underinsured disaster-related expenses. FEMA cannot provide assistance for losses covered by insurance. If your insurance does not cover all your losses, or is delayed, you may be eligible for assistance for your unmet needs.

If you are determined ineligible for assistance, FEMA will provide a letter explaining why you did not qualify and an opportunity to appeal the decision.

The Appeal Process

An appeal is a written request to FEMA to review your file again, and an opportunity to provide new or additional information not previously submitted that may affect the decision. You may appeal any decision by FEMA regarding your application for Individual Assistance, such as your initial eligibility decision, the amount or type of assistance provided to you, late applications, requests to return money, or a denial of Continued Temporary Housing Assistance.

An appeal should be filed in the form of a signed letter within 60 days of the date on the determination letter. In the appeal, explain why you disagree with the decision. Be sure to include the following:

  • Applicant’s full name, current address and damaged dwelling address
  • Applicant’s 9-digit FEMA application number, found at the top of the determination letter (on every page)
  • FEMA disaster declaration number, for example DR-4673-FL (on every page)
  • Applicant’s signature and the date

If you choose to have a third party submit an appeal on your behalf, the appeal letter must be signed by the third party. Additionally, please include a statement signed by you authorizing the third party to appeal on your behalf.

Mail your appeal letter to:

FEMA Individuals & Households Program

National Processing Service Center

P. O. Box 10055 Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055

Appeal letters and supporting documentation also can be uploaded to your account on DisasterAssistance.gov, or

you can fax to 800-827-8112.

Florida houses of worship and other private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for FEMA assistance to help pay for emergency protective measures, debris removal and restoration of facilities damaged by Hurricane Ian.

Houses of Worship are considered private nonprofit organizations that provide a noncritical, essential social service, such as community and senior citizen centers. This category of nonprofits must go through the loan application process with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance program before FEMA can determine eligibility for its Public Assistance program. SBA’s low-interest disaster loans provide up to $2 million for damaged repair or replacement of hurricane-damaged property, including furniture, fixtures, and other essential contents.

Houses of worship are not required to take out a loan, but FEMA will not fund repairs unless an SBA loan application has been denied or does not fully cover the permanent work costs.

Houses of worship should contact their county emergency management office for more information on how to submit a FEMA Request for Public Assistance.

As part of the disaster assistance process, FEMA must determine ownership and occupancy of damaged primary residences. FEMA has taken steps to make it easier for disaster survivors in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Palm Beach, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties who experienced loss from Hurricane Ian to verify ownership and occupancy.

Owners and renters must be able to prove they occupied the disaster-damaged primary residence before receiving Housing Assistance and some types of Other Needs Assistance. FEMA now accepts a broader range of documentation:

Ownership:
▪ Homeowners may provide official documentation such as:
   o The original deed or deed of trust to the property
   o A mortgage statement or escrow analysis
   o Property tax receipt or property tax bill
   o Manufactured home certificate or title

▪ In addition, FEMA will now accept a public official’s letter or receipts for major repairs or improvements. The public official’s statement (e.g., police chief, mayor, postmaster) must include the name of the applicant, the address of the disaster-damaged residence, the period of occupation and the name and telephone number of the official providing the verification.

▪ Survivors with heirship properties, mobile homes or travel trailers who do not have the traditional documentation of ownership may self-certify ownership as a last resort.

▪ Homeowners with the same address from a previous disaster only need to verify ownership one time. FEMA has also expanded the date of eligible documents from three months to one year before the disaster.

Occupancy:
▪ Homeowners and renters must document that they occupied the dwelling at the time of the disaster.

▪ Applicants may provide official occupancy documentation, such as:
   o Utility bills, bank or credit card statements, phone bills, etc.
   o Employer’s statement
   o Written lease agreement
   o Rent receipts
   o Public official’s statement

▪ FEMA will now accept motor vehicle registration, letters from local schools (public or private), federal or state benefit providers, social service organizations or court documents.

▪ Applicants can also use a signed statement from a commercial or mobile home park owner, or self- certification for a mobile home or travel trailer as a last resort.

▪ If survivors have successfully verified occupancy to FEMA from a previous disaster within a two-year period,
they do not need to do it again.

Applicants in Florida who need free legal assistance regarding home ownership documentation and cannot afford an
attorney may call the Disaster Legal Aid hotline at 866-550-2929. The Hotline is available 24/7 and callers can leave a
message at any time.

To apply for FEMA disaster assistance, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA app for smartphones or call
800-621-3362. Help is available in most languages. If you use a relay service, give FEMA the number for that service.

https://www.fema.gov/about/news-multimedia/app

FEMA is committed to helping all eligible disaster survivors recover from Hurricane Ian. including U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens.

Disaster survivors in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, St. Johns, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia counties may apply for assistance from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP). You or a member of your household must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.

If you do not meet the status of either U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien, your household may still apply for and be considered for IHP assistance if:

  • Another adult member of your household meets the eligibility criteria and certifies their citizenship status during the registration process or signs the Declaration and Release form, or
  • The parent or guardian of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien applies for assistance on behalf of the child, if they live in the same household. The parent or legal guardian must register as the co-applicant, and the minor child must be under age 18 at the time the disaster occurred.

Qualified aliens

“Qualified alien” includes:

  • A legal permanent resident (“green card” holder).
  • An asylee, refugee or an alien whose deportation is being withheld.
  • An alien paroled into the U.S. for at least one year.
  • An alien granted conditional entry (per law in effect prior to April 1, 1980).
  • A Cuban or Haitian entrant.
  • Certain aliens subjected to extreme cruelty or who have been a victim of a severe form of human trafficking, including persons with a “T” or “U” visa.
  • Aliens whose children have been abused and alien children whose parent has been abused who fit certain criteria.

Non-Citizen Nationals

A non-citizen national is a person born in an outlying possession of the U.S. (e.g., American Samoa) on or after the date the U.S. acquired the possession, or a person whose parents are U.S. non-citizen nationals. All U.S. citizens are U.S nationals; however, not every U.S. national is a U.S. citizen.

Qualified Minor Children

The parent or guardian of a minor child living in the same household may apply for assistance on behalf of the minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien. The minor child must be under age 18 as of the first day of the incident period, Sept. 23, 2022.

Resources

See Citizenship and Immigration Status Requirements for Federal Public Benefits for more information in multiple languages at fema.gov/assistance/individual/program/citizenship-immigration-status.

If you’re unsure of your immigration status, talk to an immigration expert to learn if your status falls within the immigration status requirements for FEMA disaster assistance. Visit nvoad.org/ to learn about other voluntary organizations.