TAMPA, Fla. - A major disaster declaration for Florida that was approved by President Donald Trump on Sunday will make it easier for individuals, as well as local and state authorities, to receive federal funding for recovery efforts.
"It’s clear that the entire country is standing with Florida as Hurricane Irma batters our state right now," Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. "I have heard from people all across the world that want to help and support Florida. It’s encouraging, and on behalf of all Floridians - we appreciate the support and constant collaboration."
The declaration means:
- 100 percent federal reimbursement for 30 days for all Florida counties providing emergency protective measures, such as emergency operation, evacuation, sheltering and other costs associated with emergency response. After 30 days, the federal government will reimburse 75 percent of these costs, which include local and state expenses.
- 75 percent federal reimbursement for all counties for debris removal.
- Direct federal financial assistance for impacted Florida families in Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas and Sarasota Counties.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Here's more from the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding how to file for assistance:
Assistance for affected individuals and families can Include:
- Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, municipality and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
- Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
- Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture.)
- Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.
Assistance for state, tribal and affected local governments can include:
- Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal (Categories A). Debris removal assistance, including direct federal assistance, is available to state, tribal, and local governments on a cost-sharing basis. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
- For a period of 30 days from the start of the incident period, FEMA is authorized to provide federal funding for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance, taken to save lives and protect property and public health at 100 percent of the total eligible costs. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by the state or tribe to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
How to apply for assistance:
Application procedures for the state, tribal and eligible local governments will be explained at a series of applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.