If you live in one of the disaster-designated Florida counties and experienced property damage or loss directly caused by Hurricane Irma, register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance — even if you have insurance. This can be an important step to begin the process of recovery.
You can register for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov. If you don’t have Internet access, you can call (800) 621-3362. People who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY can call (800) 462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call (800) 621-3362. These toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
FEMA assistance for individuals may include grants for rent, temporary housing and home repairs to primary residences, as well as funding for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental or funeral costs. If you have insurance, FEMA may still be able to assist with disaster-related expenses.
After you apply, a FEMA inspector will contact you to schedule a free inspection, which generally lasts between 30 and 40 minutes and consists of a general verification of disaster-related losses and a review of ownership/residence records.
When a FEMA housing inspector comes to visit your home, be sure they show you proper identification. All FEMA inspectors have prominent photo identification badges. If you suspect someone is posing as a FEMA housing inspector, call the toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721.
Once the inspection process is complete, your situation will be reviewed by FEMA. You will receive a letter by e-mail or physical mail outlining the decision about your claim. For more information about the inspection process, and documentation you will need to provide the inspector, search for the FEMA Individual Assistance Inspection Process page at www.fema.gov.
You may receive a visit from more than one inspector. Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local officials and inspectors for private insurance also visit affected neighborhoods.
For more info., visit www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma.