The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published tips and other information to aid Hurricane Ian victims in Florida, on everything from applying for FEMA financial assistance to IRS deadlines being extended to file quarterly individual and business taxes.
Here's what you need to know:
Where can I find food and water?
Find locations at www.floridadisaster.org/info/
Are there shelters available if my home is damaged?
Florida residents who did not evacuate but now need to leave their home can visit www.floridadisaster.org/shelter-status for open general and special needs shelters in Florida. If you do leave your home, do not leave pets or animals behind.
Who qualifies for FEMA aid?
Affected residents who live in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Volusia counties — and Seminole Tribe of Florida.
How do I apply for FEMA disaster assistance?
Affected residents can apply for federal assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 am – 11 p.m. or by using the FEMA app. More than 83,000 survivors have applied for assistance so far.
Take photos to document damage and keep receipts from all cleanup- and repair-related purchases. These steps may help maximize federal disaster assistance and insurance payments.
Are loans to rebuild available to me?
Small Business Administration disaster loans are available to businesses, homeowners, renters and nonprofit organizations in some Florida counties. Applicants may apply at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov under declaration #17644. For help, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
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For suspension of benefit debt, Veterans and beneficiaries can contact the VA Debt Management Center by calling 800-827-0648.
How do I utilize my flood insurance?
If you are one of the 1.6 million Floridians with flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or carrier to file your claim immediately, even if you’re evacuated and suspect flood damage. Be sure to ask them about advance payments.
The National Flood Insurance Program has ample adjuster resources available to process claims quickly and fairly, FEMA said. To learn more about how to start your flood insurance claim, visit Floodsmart.gov.
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What mental health resources are available?
Survivors experiencing emotional distress can call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. The national hotline provides free 24/7, crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Deaf and hard of hearing ASL callers can use a videophone or ASL Now.
Where can I get help with medication or other medical equipment needs?
Medically dependent residents of Florida who need electricity to operate medical equipment, transport services to evacuated due to a medical condition or need help getting medication during a disaster can register for assistance at FloridaDisaster.org/SNR.
Floridians who use Veterans Affairs medical centers and clinics and need urgent care services should call 877-741-3400. Find a list of open VA centers at va.gov . Veterans needing emergency refill locations can visit va.hhspharmacy.com/locations/index.html.
For suspension of medical care and pharmacy copayment debt, Veterans and beneficiaries can contact the Health Resource Center by calling 866-400-1238.
The Heritage Health Emergency Pharmaceutical Refill Program is activated in Florida, call at 866-265-0124, option 1 with questions. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.
How can I report someone missing?
If you need assistance locating a missing friend or relative call the Red Cross at 800-733-2767 and provide as much detail as you can to assist us in potentially locating your missing loved one. You can also complete a form at missing.fl.gov for yourself or with the last known location of your loved one(s). This information will help rescue workers locate you and your loved ones as quickly as possible
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has free reunification assistance for children and families impacted by disasters. If you or someone you know is missing a child related to a disaster or any other incident, please immediately call 911 and then 800-THE-LOST for assistance.
Is tax relief available for those affected by Hurricane Ian?
The Internal Revenue Service announced tax relief for individuals and households affected by Hurricane Ian that reside or have a business anywhere in the state of Florida. If you are in one of the eligible counties in Florida, you now have until Feb. 15, 2023, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.
Additional Hurricane Ian resources
State of Florida Assistance Information
Telephone Line: 800-342-3557
Visit FEMA.gov for information and resources available for Florida residents affected by the storm. Information is also available in Creole, Simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Hurricane Ian: FEMA assistance, loans, flood insurance, prescription help