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.
- 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:
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.
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 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:
- This fact sheet provides common questions and answers regarding Operation Blue Roof.
Immediate Needs Resources:
- Links to: food, D-SNAP, housing, gas, road closures, and Disaster Recovery Centers.
- 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:
- This fact sheet provides information on the steps to appeal a decision letter.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 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
- Call: 1-866-966-7226
- Price Gouging Complaint form
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
- 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.
- Visit FEMA’s How do I File My Flood Claim? site that explains the claims process and steps to follow as you file and work with your agent and adjuster. The more you know, the smoother the process will go.
- Download and print this guide for insured-survivors on What to Do After the Flood
- Report your loss immediately to your insurance agent and ask them about advanced payments: NFIP's Write Your Own insurance companies
- Read more about what to do after your inspection.
- NFIP Policyholders Must Follow the Guidelines of Their Flood Policy When Cleaning Up. Read the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency’s Homeowners' and Renters' Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters.
- How to file your NFIP flood insurance claim infographic.
- What to expect from the different representatives who may visit your home during the disaster process.
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.
- STEP ONE: File a Claim
- Who to call
- What information to provide when reporting your claim
- How to register for FEMA assistance online
- STEP TWO: Prepare For Your Inspection
- How to document damage
- How to remove your flood damaged items
- Who to contact as you make repairs
- 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
- 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.
- Community Planning/Capacity Building and Florida’s Recovery
- Coordinated Place Based Recovery Support
- Economic Recovery Support Function
- Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function
- Infrastructure Systems Recovery Support Function
- Mission Scoping Assessment
- Interagency Recovery Coordination and Florida's Recovery
- Natural and Cultural Resources Recovery Support Function
- External Affairs Adviser
- Sustainability Adviser
Business Continuity and Preparedness Guide
|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|
|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|
News and Information
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)