The following letter was issued by Congressman Ted Deutch on Sept. 15

Dear Friend,

With Hurricane Irma now behind us, South Florida is focused on a safe recovery process.In FEMA’s initial Major Disaster Declaration issued September 10, Broward and Palm Beach Counties were not among the nine counties listed as eligible for Individual Assistance.

After many hours on the phone urging the White House, FEMA, and the Governor’s office to consider the widespread damage in Palm Beach and Broward counties, I’m thrilled to report that on September 11 FEMA amended the Major Disaster Declaration to include these counties on a list of eligible counties for Individual Assistance.

With the storm now finally out of our state, residents will need all the help they can get as they begin the long rebuilding process. That’s why I want to be sure you have quick access to the important information you need to know about cleanup and recovery.

Below you will find links and phone numbers that will help you apply for business or individual assistance, file insurance claims, and avoid scams.I’ve been grateful for the strong leadership and clear communication from the Governor and his office, Palm Beach County officials, and Broward County officials.

But even more, I’ve been inspired by the way Floridians came together to help each other stay safe, both during and after the storm. The compassion our communities have seen from individuals offering time and resources to those less fortunate is what makes our nation great. Individuals interested in volunteering can sign up here.

My staff and I are here to help you in this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we may be of assistance.

Kind regards,

Ted Deutch

Individual Assistance from FEMA

Individual Assistance funds are available from FEMA. These funds can be used to cover medical, child care, household items, moving, and clean-up expenses. Learn more here.

To apply, you will need to provide your Social Security number, financial information, gross household income, address, and insurance information. Apply online or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Assistance from the Small Business Administration:

Businesses and residents in Broward and Palm Beach counties are eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans from the Small Business Administration. Types of loans include:

Business Physical Disaster Loans: Any business or organization located in a declared disaster area and that incurred damage during the disaster may apply for a loan to help replace or restore damaged property.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and have suffered economic injury regardless of physical damage, you may qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Home and Person Property Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and are the victim of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the SBA, even if you don’t own a business.

Military Reservists Economic Injury Loans: If you have an essential employee who is a military reservist called to active duty, SBA provides loans to help eligible small businesses with operating expenses.

Learn more about SBA’s resources for those affected by Irma or apply for loans.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance:

Financial assistance is available to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted due to Hurricane Irma. This generally includes any worker who, due to Hurricane Irma, no longer has a job or place of work, cannot reach their place of work, or cannot work due to damage to their workplace. Learn more or file a claim here.

Important Tax Information:

The IRS has announced that they will extend the September 15, 2017 filing deadline to January 31, 2018 for qualifying businesses and individuals. This extension is available only in counties affected by Hurricane Irma and deemed eligible by FEMA for individual assistance, which include Broward County and Palm Beach County.In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due during the first 15 days of the disaster period.More information from the IRS is available here and here.

National Flood Insurance Program:

Individuals with insurance from the NFIP can check a factsheet, the filing handbook, and important information about the claims process. Be sure to document all damage as soon as it is safe for you to do so. When you file your flood claim, ask about an Advance Payment. You may qualify for an Advance Payment before your adjuster arrives to inspect your damage.

Other Resources:

FEMA’s Irma site: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4337

Price Gouging Hotline: 866-966-7226 or myfloridalegal.com

Online Damage Assessment for Businesses: http://flvbeoc.org/

Insurance Consumer Helpline: 877-693-5236

Florida Power and Light: 800-4-OUTAGE

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This post was prepared by staff at Point! Publishing. For inquiries call 954-603-4553.

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