Black Friday last day for Floridians to apply for FEMA assistance

Last disaster assistance center in Northeast Florida to be open Friday

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Survivors of Hurricane Irma have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to register for assistance from FEMA and/or submit an application for a Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loan. 

The registration process is the first step in your recovery and requires information such as insurance policies and bank information for possible direct transfer of funds. Survivors are encouraged to register before visiting a recovery center.

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

The SBA offers low-interest federal disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes. The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged property.

The last disaster recovery center in Jacksonville closed at noon Wednesday, but the mobile DRC in St. Johns County will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Solomon Calhoun Community Center at 1300 Duval St., to assist St. Johns County residents.

Disaster Recovery Centers serve as a one-stop resource for eligible storm survivors seeking one-on-one help from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other state agencies.

For more information, please call Emergency Management at 904-824-5550.

If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register in one of the following ways:

Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
Call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. Information on the registration process is available in ASL at: fema.gov/medialibrary/assets/videos/111546.
Help is available in most languages.

If you have already registered, it is not necessary to contact FEMA but you may still want to go speak with a recovery specialist to update your status or find help from the other organizations.

Survivors should register even if they have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but underinsured applicants may receive help after their claims have been settled.

For more information on Hurricane Irma and Florida recovery, visit www.FEMA.gov/IrmaFL, @FEMARegion4 Twitter account, or the Florida Division of Emergency Management website.

How to apply to SBA:

  • Call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. Individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing call 800-877-8339.
  • Email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
  • Go to SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster.
  • Visit a DRC or a Business Recovery Center.

Latest FEMA numbers

As of Thursday, according to FEMA, more than $900 million in individual assistance has been sent out to help Floridians recover from Hurricane Irma. More than $39 million of that has gone to residents of Jacksonville.

Individual assistance includes money for uninsured home repairs, essential personal property replacement, rental assistance for people forced out of damaged homes and other serious unmet needs.

While more than 2.6 million Floridians have registered with FEMA, some people who were impacted by Hurricane Irma probably have not registered. These people must do so by the end of Friday to be considered for help.

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