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FEMA extends deadline for Hurricane Ian assistance

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FEMA announced this week that the agency is extending the deadline for survivors of Hurricane Ian to apply for federal assistance. The new deadline to submit an application is Jan. 12, 2023.

According to FEMA this extension comes at the request of the State of Florida. Residents of the following counties will qualify for this extension: 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.

The agency said it has already provided more than $2.69 billion in federal grants, disaster loans and flood insurance payments to the state and individual households following Hurricane Ian.

Florida residents seeking assistance have several avenues to find help. Applications can be submitted directly using FEMA’s application portal or by calling 800-621-3362. Those seeking to apply can also use the FEMA mobile app to do so.

The State of Florida and FEMA have also opened 28 Disaster Recovery Centers in affected counties to help connect residents to recovery resources. These centers are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is not necessary to visit a DRC to submit a FEMA application, but representatives are available to assist and answer questions.

According to FEMA, the agency also has Disaster Survivor Assistance specialists going door-to-door to help people register for assistance. The agency said these specialists have already visited 225,000 homes in Florida.

If you have insurance, FEMA encourages you to file a claim first before you apply for FEMA assistance, as the agency will not duplicate any assistance you may have already received.

Other reasons FEMA cites for denying assistance include a home not being damaged enough for assistance, a home not being a primary residence and FEMA agents not being able to reach the applicants through the contact information provided.

For this reason, the Florida Division of Emergency Management reminds residents that they should keep their contact information up-to-date and stay in touch with the agency throughout the assistance process. The Division recommends setting up direct deposit if receiving assistance, as assistance checks cannot be forwarded in the event you can’t access your home address.

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