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Florida Hurricane Irma (DR-4337-FL)

Incident Period: September 4, 2017 - October 18, 2017
Declaration Date: September 10, 2017

The deadline to apply for individual disaster assistance was November 24, 2017, but that does not mean FEMA is leaving. FEMA continues working with the State to help survivors and communities recover. View additional deadline dates for disaster recovery assistance.

If you have registered for assistance, FEMA encourages you to keep in touch to track your claim or to notify the agency of changes to your mailing or email addresses or phone numbers, and to report insurance settlements or additional damage you may have discovered since your home inspection.


Quick Links

  • Visit our Disaster Recovery Center page for more information on where to locate a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC).  The only Disaster Recovery Center currently open at this time is in Hamilton County. 
  • Visit our Disaster Fraud page to learn more on how to protect yourself and your family from fraud.
  • Visit our Housing Assistance Page to find out about options for housing after a disaster. 
  • Visit our Rumor Control page for a list of identified rumors and help us combat misinformation.
  • FEMA is hiring Florida residents to support Hurricane Irma recovery. Click here for more information on how to join our team.
  • Visit our Mitigation Outreach page for information on where to get home improvement tips from FEMA Mitigation Specialists.
  • Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration's page to submit a Disaster Loan Application.
  • Visit our Rebuilding Resources page for a list of materials and information to support Hurricane Irma rebuilding efforts.
  • Browse through our library of disaster recovery video resources for people with disabilities.
  • Browse through our Social Media Content Library for graphics and content to share on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit our disaster pages in multiple languages:

What to Expect After You Apply

Once homeowners register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a FEMA housing inspector will call to schedule an inspection for those living in designated counties. Here’s what survivors need to know about the inspection process: A blue and grey graphic explaining what happens after you apply for assistance. It reads as follows: What to expect after you apply for FEMA aid. You may receive an application to apply for a low-interest long-term SBA loan. Completing the SBA loan application is an important step in finding out what aid may be available to you. As a homeowner you may borrow up to $200,000 to repair/replace your primary residence, and up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property. You are not required to accept the loan in order to receive FEMA assistance, but it may enable you to be considered for additional types of assistance. An inspector will contact you to schedule a visit. Be ready to keep your scheduled appointment. Appointments take 30-40 minutes and you must be present. Contact your insurance agent if you have insurance. Prove your identity. Show these documents:-Photo ID: driver’s license or passport.-Proof of occupancy: lease or utility bill.-Proof of ownership: deed, title, mortgage payment book, or tax receipts.(*This is not an exhaustive list.) During the Inspector’s VisitInspectors will…-wear official FEMA ID badges.-confirm your disaster registration number.-review structural and personal property damages.-ask you to sign official documentation.-verify ownership and occupancy. Inspectors won’t….-determine eligibility.-cost any money.-ask for credit card information.-take the place of an insurance inspection. After the Inspector’s visit….You will be sent a decision letter. If approved for aid:-You will receive a check or an electronic funds transfer.-A follow-up letter will explain how the money can be used. If you have questions regarding the letter, you can visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area (fema.gov/drc) or call us at 800-621-3362 (711/Video Relay Service). For TTY, call 800-462-7585.

Everyone should know:

  • The FEMA inspector will show a photo ID badge.
  • If you are not shown photo identification, then do not allow the inspection.
  • If you suspect someone is posing as a FEMA inspector, call your local law enforcement agency.
  • You may receive visits from more than one inspector. Other inspectors may represent federal, state, parish and local government agencies, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the National Flood Insurance Program and/or insurance companies.       
  • Representatives of volunteer agencies may contact you to offer their services.

Before the FEMA inspection, it’s important that you know:

  • An adult 18 or older who lived in the residence before the disaster must be present for the inspection.
  • That person must have the following documents:
    • Photo identification;
    • Proof of ownership and occupancy of the damaged residence such as: property tax bill; mortgage payment bill or receipt, or utility service bill;
    • Homeowner and vehicle insurance documents;
    • List of persons living in residence at time of disaster that you compiled; and
    • List of disaster damage to the home and its contents that you compiled.

How to Appeal a FEMA Decision

Applicants have a right to appeal any FEMA decision.

Some survivors who registered for federal disaster assistance may have received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that says they are ineligible. The reason for the decision may be something that can be easily fixed, such as providing insurance documents or new contact information.What to do if you disagree with FEMA’s decision letter1. Read the letter carefully to find out why the decision was made.Do you need to provide additional information?• Insurance determination letter.• Proof of occupancy or ownership.• Proof of ID.• Applicant’s signature.Common reasons for the initial decision:• The damage was to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence.• Someone else in the household applied and received assistance.• Disaster-related losses could not be verified.• Insurance covered all losses.2. Contact FEMA for help with filing an appeal or any questions.Call800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available)800-462-7585 (TTY)VisitA Disaster Recovery Center3. File a written appeal.Explain why you think the decision was not correct.• Provide supporting information and documents.• Include your FEMA registration number on all documents.• Sign the letter.Mail or fax your appeal within 60 days of the decision letter date, or drop it off at a Disaster Recovery Center.

When survivors apply for individual disaster assistance through FEMA, their needs are assessed based on a number of factors, including eligibility requirements laid out under federal law.  Sometimes people do not qualify for financial help right away. Some of the reasons for an initial turn down can be:

  • You might not have gotten your insurance settlement;
  • You may not have given FEMA all the information we need;
  • You haven’t given us proof of ownership or residence;
  • You may not have returned the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application;
  • You may not have provided records that showed the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster;
  • You may not have signed essential documents.

Read your letter carefully. FEMA may only need you to provide additional information. Your appeal should include new or missing information, documents and damage repair estimates that support the appeal request. If it isn’t clear, or more information is needed, a specialist at the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711, video relay service) can help. TTY users can call 800-462-7585. The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

All appeals must be made in the form of a signed letter within 60 days of the date on the determination letter. It is important to date the appeal letter and mail it to the following address:

FEMA National Processing Service Center
P. O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

Appeals may also be faxed to: 1-800-827-8112, Attention: FEMA. You can also call the helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 or visit a Disaster Recovery Center, where you can talk with someone about your particular case.

Everyone should read their letters carefully, ask questions, ask for help, and tell us if you think we got it wrong. We are here to serve you – the disaster survivor – and it is your right to ask us to reconsider our decision.

Contact FEMA with Insurance Settlement Documentation

Survivors who suffered wind and water damage from Hurricane Irma and find themselves insured for some, but not all damages, may initially be designated ineligible for FEMA disaster assistance due to insurance coverage.

Even if you received an initial denial from FEMA, you may be eligible later for help after your insurance claims have been settled if you can demonstrate that your insurance didn’t cover essential needs.

Contact your insurance company and request a settlement letter that details exactly what is covered under the claim.

FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments but may be able to help where homeowners and/or flood insurance did not.

You have up to 12 months from the date you apply with FEMA to submit your insurance settlement records for review. If your settlement has been delayed longer than 30 days from the time you filed your claim, you may write FEMA to explain the reason for the delay. Any funds you get from FEMA would then be considered an advance and must be repaid when you get your settlement.

If you’ve received a letter saying you’re ineligible, whether because of insurance coverage or another reason, additional documentation may be all that is needed to change it. It’s important to read your letter carefully to understand FEMA’s decision so you will know exactly what you need to do.

Examples of documentation are proof of residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property, and proof that the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster.

You can submit missing documentation to FEMA online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. A list of DRCs is available on the FEMA App or by calling 800-621-3362.

You may mail:
FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

Or fax your documentation to:
Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program

Resource Directory for Hurricane Irma Survivors in Florida

Quickly locate services needed. This information has links to connect to multiple sites that have disaster needs information. All pages have links to state, local, FEMA, and federal resources.

Frequently Asked Questions about Operation Blue Roof:

Immediate Needs Resources:

  • Links to: food, D-SNAP, housing, gas, road closures, and Disaster Recovery Centers.

Recovery Resources:

  • Links to: FEMA registration, insurance and insurance company contact information, unemployment assistance, debris and pollution notices, children and family needs, mental health services.

Returning Home Resources:

  • Links to: FEMA registration, debris clean-up, health and welfare, repairs and clean-up, senior citizens’ needs, veterans’ needs.

Financial, Legal, and Volunteer Resources:

  • Links to: FEMA registration, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), insurance and insurance contact information, legal services, and volunteers and donations.

FEMA Determination Letters:

Foreclosure Relief:

  • This news release provides information about foreclosure relief for homeowners from the Federal Housing Administration.

Stories of Recovery


As soon as the skies cleared and the roads opened after Hurricane Irma, thousands of people began helping survivors put their lives back together. The Florida Baptist Kitchen prepared 30,000 meals per day that volunteers distributed to survivors. The Red Cross Meal Delivery project offered food to hundreds of survivors in hard-hit Immokalee, Florida.

The Florida Baptist Supply Distribution program worked with local and out-of-state partners to provide food, water and emergency supplies to survivors in Naples.

Over a seven day period, AmeriCorps Volunteers cleared enough debris to fill 200 dump trucks.

Even as Monroe County began to recover from Hurricane Irma, debris still clogged many waterways. A group of friends decided to make marine debris removal their mission. A few months later, the 1,000 members of the Conch Republic Marine Army has collected 90 tons of debris.

St. Columba Episcopal Church Providing Housing:

Eighteen days after Hurricane Irma’s landfall, St. Columba’s Episcopal Church brought in travel trailers to house survivors who had lost everything. The church later acquired 17 more trailers and is currently rehabbing an apartment complex to help provide affordable housing for Keys residents.

Preserving Florida’s Culture and History

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Flooding caused by Hurricane Irma swamped gardens at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville. Staff from FEMA’s Public Assistance and Environmental and Historic Preservation departments toured the facility to assess the storm’s impact and explain how FEMA can help restore the historic gardens.

Marathon Community Theatre:

Hurricane Irma tore the roof off the nonprofit theater and scattered it across the neighborhood. The next day, staff began cleaning up, contacting the theater’s insurance company and filing for assistance from the SBA and FEMA. One month later, the theater reopened.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami:

The museum and gardens, a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places built a large glass canopy to protects art displayed in an outside courtyard, After Florida’s new building codes were enacted, the museum received more than $1.8 million from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to replace it with a hurricane-resistant canopy.



ESF-10 in the Florida Keys:

Hurricane Irma displaced hundreds of boats, creating the potential for navigation hazards and discharge of oil and other pollutants into Florida’s waters. FEMA mission-assigned the U.S. Coast Guard which worked with the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife to recover and safely remove vessels.

Open to Care for You

When Fishermen’s Hospital was closed due to damage from Hurricane Irma, a field hospital was established to provide health care to Keys residents. Although services are limited, the hospital is able to offer medical services to people in need.


The Evolution of Mitigation:

Seeing is believing. Prompted by the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, Florida adopted some of the most stringent building codes in the country. Homes built before Hurricane Andrew in 1992 sustained extreme damage when Irma roared into the Keys, destroying most of them. Houses built after the stronger codes were enacted came through the Category 4 hurricane with minimal  damage.

Building Back Stronger:

St. Peter Church in Marathon, Florida offers another example of the effectiveness of Florida’s building codes. The church, rectory and office were all severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. But, the ministry center—built after the stronger building codes were enacted and designed to withstand Category 4 hurricane winds—survived intact.

The Turtle Hospital Was Ready For Hurricane Irma:

In 2005, Hurricane Wilma’s five-foot storm surge flooded the sea turtle enclosure, pushing turtles out of their pools. To avoid that happening again, the Turtle Hospital built new, elevated tanks and developed a preparedness plan. As Irma closed in, the turtles were evacuated and medical equipment was moved to protect it from the hurricane’s wind, rain and storm surge. The church will be rebuilt to comply with the stronger codes and elevated five feet to reduce the potential of future flooding.


Want to learn more of the Hurricane Irma response and recovery? Check out our one year video roundup: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/168673

Join the Conversation

We’re using social media to provide updates on recovery efforts, and information on programs and resources for Hurricane Irma survivors. Visit one or all of the sites below and join the conversation:




Tips for Clean-Up

Below are a few simple guidelines to follow that will make the clean-up and salvage process safer and easier:

Returning HomeHand holding a smartphone that has taken a photo of damage to a house after a storm.Text reads:

  • Always wear protective clothing including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, rubber or plastic gloves and waterproof boots or shoes.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines and other exterior damage.
  • Take photos of your damage before you begin clean up and save repair receipts.
  • Your home may be contaminated with mold, which raises the health risk for those with asthma, allergies and breathing conditions. Refer to the Center for Disease Control for more info on mold: www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/pdf/flyer-get-rid-of-mold.pdf.
  • Open doors and windows so your house can air out before spending any length of time inside.
  • Turn off main electrical power and water systems and don’t use gas appliances until a professional can ensure they are safe.
  • Check all ceilings and floors for signs of sagging or other potentially dangerous structural damage.
  • Throw out all foods, beverages and medicines exposed to flood waters or mud including canned goods and containers with food or liquid.
  • Also, throw out any items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals, etc.).
  • Beware of snakes, insects, and other animals that may be on your property or in your home.
  • Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
  • Clean all hard surfaces (flooring, countertops, appliances, sinks, etc.) thoroughly with hot water and soap or detergent.

Beware of Fraud and Price Gouging

After a disaster scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals may attempt to prey on vulnerable survivors. The most common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations and fake offers of state or federal aid.

Survivors should keep in mind:Graphic explaining how to avoid fraud while seeking disaster assistance.

  • FEMA does not authorize individual contractors to solicit on its behalf.  Beware of any individual contractors contacting you directly on behalf of FEMA to sign you up for debris removal or remediation services.
  • If you have any concerns about individuals representing themselves as FEMA or would like to report fraud, please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721 or via email at disaster@leo.gov
  • Federal and state workers never ask for, or accept money, and always carry identification badges
  • There is NO FEE required to apply for or to get disaster assistance from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration or the state

Scam attempts can be made over the phone, by mail or email, text or in person

Price Gouging

Price gouging occurs when a supplier marks up the price of an item more than is justified by his actual costs. Survivors are particularly susceptible because their needs are immediate, and have few alternatives to choose from. If you find price gouging, contact you the Florida State Office of the Attorney General.

Report Price Gouging

Dealing with Contractors:

Survivors should take steps to protect themselves and avoid fraud when hiring contractors to clean property, remove debris or make repairs.

Simple rules to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

  • Only use contractors licensed by your state
  • Get a written estimate and get more than one estimate
  • Demand and check references
  • Ask for proof of insurance
    • i.e., liability and Workmen's Compensation
  • Insist on a written contract and refuse to sign a contract with blank spaces
  • Get any guarantees in writing
  • Make final payments only after the work is completed
  • Pay by check.

The best way to avoid fraud is to arm yourself against it by having a checklist to remind you of what you need to demand when hiring a contractor.

Visit our Disaster Fraud page to learn more on how to protect yourself and your family from fraud.

How to Help

To help people affected by the storm, visit @nvoad’s page for a listed of trusted organizations. To help, remember:An outstretched hand supports a heart, set against a blue background. FEMA seal in the lower right corner. Text reads: How to help after a disaster. The best way to help is with cash donations to trusted organizations. · Cash is efficient, flexible to use, and requires no packaging or transport. · Trusted organizations will ensure your money goes to help those in need.

  • Cash is best. Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible, and most effective method of donating. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through area businesses which supports economic recovery.
  • Confirm donations needed. Critical needs change rapidly – confirm needed items BEFORE collecting; pack and label carefully; confirm delivery locations; arrange transportation. Unsolicited goods NOT needed burden local organizations’ ability to meet survivors’ confirmed needs, drawing away valuable volunteer labor, transportation, and warehouse space.
  • Connect to volunteer. Trusted organizations operating in the affected area know where volunteers are needed, and can ensure appropriate volunteer safety, training, and housing.

    Thank you for your interest in helping the survivors of Hurricane Irma, there are other ways to help. When disaster strikes, America looks to FEMA to support survivors and first responders in communities all across the country. We are currently seeking talented and hard-working people to help support the response and recovery.

To share disaster related information and graphics on social media, browse our Social Media Content Library.

National Flood Insurance Program

Information about Loss Avoidance. NFIP flood insurance policyholders may be able to get up to $1,000 to help with protective measures taken to avoid flood damage when a flood is imminent.

Steps to File a Claim

FEMA’s How do I File My Flood Claim?  page offers more details on each of the steps below, along with more information for Hurricane Irma survivors who have flood insurance with the National Flood Insurance Program.How to file a flood insurance claim1. Call Your AgentReport your loss immediately to your insurance agent or insurance carrier and ask them about Advance Payments.Advance payments are being granted to eligible policyholders. If you send photo or video documentation, you may be able to receive up to $20,000 before the adjuster inspects your damage.Normally a claims adjuster will contact you within a week.2. Take PhotosBefore entering your home, first make sure it’s safe.Take as many pictures and videos of your flood damaged property as possible – both on the outside and the inside of the building.If you need help finding your insurance carrier, call 800-621-FEMA.For appliances and electronics, take a photograph of the make, model, and serial number for the adjuster.3. Begin CleanupRemove your flood-damaged items. Keep samples of items like flooring and curtains for your adjuster’s inspection. Immediately throw away flooded contents that pose a health risk (like perishable food and pillows), after photographing them.4. Meet Your AdjusterWhen your claims adjuster arrives, make sure they show you their official identification.NFIP Policyholders must follow the guidelines of their flood policy when cleaning up. Visit www.epa.gov/mold/moldcleanup- after-floods for more information.For Hurricane Irma, FEMA has waived the Proof of Loss requirement for initial claims. However, you will need a Proof of Loss if you find additional flood damage. The deadline to submit is one year from the date of the flood loss.5. Receive Final PaymentAfter your adjuster inspects your property, you will receive a package from the NFIP with your adjuster’s report and a check made out to you and/or your mortgage company. You should carefully review the report before depositing the check.If you are unsatisfied with your claim determination, NFIP offers a no-cost appeals process: www.fema.gov/floodclaim- appeals-and-guidance

  1. STEP ONE: File a Claim
    • Who to call
    • What information to provide when reporting your claim
    • How to register for FEMA assistance online
  2. STEP TWO: Prepare For Your Inspection
    • How to document damage
    • How to remove your flood damaged items
    • Who to contact as you make repairs
  3. STEP THREE: Work with Your Adjuster
    • What you should expect from your adjuster visit
    • What to know, do, and discuss with your adjuster
    • What to do after your inspection
  4. STEP FOUR: Complete A Proof of Loss

Note for Hurricane Irma Survivors: Although ordinarily required within 60 days from the date of loss, completing a Proof of Loss (POL) will be waived for a period of one-year. The insurance company will accept the adjuster’s report to pay your claim. You will need a POL if you find additional flood damage or if you disagree with what the insurance company pays you.

Please keep in mind that even after you receive an initial payment for your flood claim, you have the option to request additional payment. You will need to submit a POL by one year from the date of loss if you request additional payment(s).

Unsatisfied With Your Claim Payment? If after you receive a denial letter (for all or some of your flood insurance claim) from your insurer you are unsatisfied with the dollar amount being offered for flood-loss repairs or replacements, you may explore other options. These options are only available for policyholders who have received a denial letter.

Interagency Recovery Coordination

In the days and weeks after a disaster, a range of work begins to get the affected community back on its feet and rebuild stronger, smarter and safer.

The National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) provides context for how the whole community works together to restore, redevelop and revitalize the health, social, economic, natural and environmental fabric of the community.

After Hurricane Irma carved a path of destruction from the Keys to the Florida/Georgia line, multiple federal agencies came together to assist residents, assess damage and help rebuild a stronger, more resilient Florida.


Fact Sheets:

Business Continuity and Preparedness Guide

Business Continuity and Preparedness Guide


Financial Assistance

Individual Assistance Amount
Total Housing Assistance (HA) - Dollars Approved $712,483,650.67
Total Other Needs Assistance (ONA) - Dollars Approved $308,484,582.49
Total Individual & Households Program Dollars Approved $1,020,968,233.16
Individual Assistance Applications Approved 774691
Public Assistance Amount
Emergency Work (Categories A-B) - Dollars Obligated $1,583,629,011.40
Permanent Work (Categories C-G) - Dollars Obligated $482,058,740.86
Total Public Assistance Grants Dollars Obligated $2,131,008,700.51
Hazard Mitigation Assistance Amount
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) - Dollars Obligated $207,923,726.80

Designated Counties (Individual Assistance)

  • Alachua (County)
  • Baker (County)
  • Bradford (County)
  • Brevard (County)
  • Broward (County)
  • Charlotte (County)
  • Citrus (County)
  • Clay (County)
  • Collier (County)
  • Columbia (County)
  • DeSoto (County)
  • Dixie (County)
  • Duval (County)
  • Flagler (County)
  • Gilchrist (County)
  • Glades (County)
  • Hamilton (County)
  • Hardee (County)
  • Hendry (County)
  • Hernando (County)
  • Highlands (County)
  • Hillsborough (County)
  • Indian River (County)
  • Lafayette (County)
  • Lake (County)
  • Lee (County)
  • Levy (County)
  • Manatee (County)
  • Marion (County)
  • Martin (County)
  • Miami-Dade (County)
  • Monroe (County)
  • Nassau (County)
  • Okeechobee (County)
  • Orange (County)
  • Osceola (County)
  • Palm Beach (County)
  • Pasco (County)
  • Pinellas (County)
  • Polk (County)
  • Putnam (County)
  • Sarasota (County)
  • Seminole (County)
  • St. Johns (County)
  • St. Lucie (County)
  • Sumter (County)
  • Suwannee (County)
  • Union (County)
  • Volusia (County)

Preliminary Damage Assessment Documents

Last updated September 30, 2020