Learn More About the FEMA Resources Available to You


Sen. Rick Scott & His Team Share Information on FEMA Resources Following Hurricane Idalia

Dear Fellow Floridian,

As Florida begins our recovery from Hurricane Idalia, my team and I are committed to making sure Floridians have access to the tools and federal resources necessary to rebuild.

Our nine offices around the state are here to help Floridians every step of the way as we work to recover from Idalia. If you or someone you know needs help with a federal issue or agency, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

My team has been hosting Mobile Office Hours throughout the community, and will continue to do so, to help Floridians with federal resources. To learn more about the assistance resources FEMA is offering to communities, how to apply and how to appeal a decision please see below.

To see more about the resources available to you and your family click HERE.



Rick Scott



Federal agencies are working hard to address the needs of residents affected by the hurricane. More information is available on the Idalia webpage at USA.gov.

In addition to federal efforts, affected states have been sharing local information and resources to help residents stay safe and find immediate assistance.

Major Disaster Declaration

Individual Assistance (IA): Assistance to individuals and households

IA-Designated Counties: Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Suwannee and Taylor Counties.

Public Assistance (PA): Assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities

PA-Designated Counties: Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee and Taylor Counties for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance. For a period of 30 days of the state’s choosing within the first 120 days from the start of the incident period, FEMA is authorized to provide federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance, at 100 percent of the total eligible costs. Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla Counties for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program. Citrus, Dixie, Hamilton, Hernando, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor Counties for permanent work [Categories C-G](already designated for assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures [Categories A and B], including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program). Franklin, Gadsden, Leon, and Wakulla Counties for debris removal [Category A] and permanent work [Categories C-G](already designated for emergency protective measures [Category B], including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program).

Hazard Mitigation (HM): Assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards

HM-Designated Areas: All areas in the State of Florida are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

OTHER:  Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further assessments.

Individuals in Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Suwannee and Taylor Counties can apply with FEMA the following ways:

  • Apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • Constituents may call the application phone number at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585).

The deadline to apply with FEMA is Oct. 30, 2023.

For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance go to Three Ways to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance – YouTube.

For the latest information on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Idalia, visit floridadisaster.org/updates/and fema.gov/disaster/4734.

Flood Insurance Claims

Florida homeowners with insurance policies covered by the National Flood Insurance Program
are urged to file claims as soon as possible. Advance payments may be available for some policyholders.

Policy holders should call their insurance agent or provider and initiate the claim even if they do not have all necessary documentation because they had to leave the property after the storm.

Homeowners with damage from both wind and flood will need to file two separate claims: a homeowner’s insurance claim and a flood insurance claim. They should let adjusters for each policy know of the claim filed with the other policy.

If filing a flood claim, ask about advance payments. You may be eligible for an advance payment of up to $5,000 prior to a visit from an adjuster. Your insurer will need to confirm covered flood damage to your property and may request additional documentation to support the amount of the advance.

Policy holders may also be eligible for an advance payment of up to $20,000 if they have photos and/or videos depicting damage and receipts validating out-of-pocket expenses related to the flood loss, or a contractor’s itemized estimate.

If the flood insurance policy recently expired, ask your agent if you are still within a renewal grace period. You may be able to pay in full to renew and be covered for a loss during that time.

The Standard Flood Insurance Policy does not cover expenses for code compliance unless the loss qualifies for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. Speak to your adjuster or insurer for more information.

The NFIP has additional information on floodsmart.gov/how-do-i-start-my-flood-claim for documenting your damage, re-entering safely, and rebuilding stronger, and where to go if you need additional assistance.

Read more HERE.

Understanding Your FEMA Letter

Survivors who applied for assistance from FEMA after Hurricane Idalia will receive an eligibility letter
from FEMA in the mail or via email.

The letter will explain your application status and how to respond. It is important to read the letter carefully because it will include the amount of any assistance FEMA may provide and information on the appropriate use of disaster assistance funds.

Applicants who were initially found ineligible or disagree with the amount of assistance approved can appeal FEMA’s determination. Applicants may only need to submit additional information or supporting documentation for FEMA to continue processing the application. Examples of missing documentation may include:

  • Proof of insurance coverage
  • Settlement of insurance claims or denial letter from insurance provider
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of occupancy
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof that the damaged property was the applicant’s primary residence at the time of the disaster.

If you have questions about the letter, call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 to find out what information FEMA needs.

FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance. FEMA assistance only provides funds for temporary lodging, basic home repairs or other disaster-related expenses.

How to Appeal

Applicants who disagree with FEMA’s decision, or the amount of assistance, may submit an appeal letter and documents supporting their claim, such as a contractor’s estimate for home repairs, or missing documents as described in the determination letter.

FEMA cannot duplicate assistance provided by another source, such as insurance settlements.

However, those who are underinsured may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled. The appeal must be in writing. In a signed and dated letter, explain the reason(s) for the appeal.

The appeal must be submitted within 60 days of the date on the eligibility letter. Please include the following:

  • Applicant’s full name, pre-disaster primary address, current address and current phone number
  • Applicant’s 9-digit FEMA application number, found at the top of the determination letter (on every page)
  • FEMA disaster declaration number DR 4734 (on every page)
  • Applicant’s signature and the date
  • Additional documentation to support your appeal (verifiable contractor’s estimate, insurance paperwork, any additional documents FEMA requested in the eligibility letter)

If you choose to have a third party submit an appeal letter on your behalf, the letter must be signed by the third party. Additionally, please include a statement signed by you authorizing the third party to appeal on your behalf.

Appeal letters must be postmarked within 60 days of the date of the eligibility letter. Letters and supporting documents may be submitted to FEMA by fax, mail or via a FEMA online account. To set up an online account, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Apply Online” and follow the directions.

  • By mail: FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-7055
  • By fax: 800-827-8112 Attention: FEMA
  • You may also visit your nearest Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) and submit your appeal.
    • For information on open DRCs, and DRC hours you can visit our DRC Locator page at: DRC Locator (fema.gov) Search by state and select Florida.

For an accessible video on the FEMA eligibility letter go to, FEMA Accessible: Understanding Your Letter – YouTube. If you have any questions about the appeals process or need assistance you can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

Read more HERE.

Disaster Recovery Centers

Disaster Recovery Centers provide disaster survivors with information from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Disaster survivors can get help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available, learn about the appeals process and get updates on applications. Find the location closest to you HERE.

  • Citrus County: West Citrus Community Center
    • 8940 W Veterans Drive, Homosassa, Florida 34448
  • Columbia County: DRC-11
    • 180 E Duval Street, Lake City, Florida 32055
  • Dixie County: Dixie County Public Library
    • 16328 SE US-19, Cross City, Florida 32628
  • Dixie County: Suwannee Baptist Church
    • 23103 SE Highway 349, Suwannee, Florida 32692
  • Gilchrist County: Gilchrist County Library
    • 105 NE 11th Avenue, Trenton, Florida 32693
  • Hamilton County: Chamber of Commerce
    • 1153 US Highway 41 NW, Jasper, Florida 32052
  • Jefferson County: Jefferson County Library
    • 375 S Water Street, Monticello, Florida 32344
  • Lafayette County: Mayo Community Center
    • 150 NW Community Circle, Mayo, Florida 32066
  • Levy County: Cedar Key Fire Station
    • 489 1st Street, Cedar Key, Florida 32625
  • Levy County: Inglis Community Center
    • 137 Highway 40, Inglis, Florida 34449
  • Madison County: Career Source North Florida
    • 705 E Base Street, Madison, Florida 32340
  • Suwannee County: Exhibition 2 Building (Colosseum)
    • 1302 SW 11 Street, Live Oak, Florida 32064
  • Taylor County: Loughridge Park
    • W 15th Street, Perry, Florida 32347
  • Taylor County: Steinhatchee Community Center
    • 1013 Riverside S. Drive, Steinhatchee, Fllorida 32359

No appointment is necessary to visit a Disaster Recovery Center. Residents can visit any center. More centers will open soon.

Need Assistance?

  • Call the Florida state assistance information line for additional resources and updated information: 1-800-342-3557
    • In case of an emergency, please hang up and dial 911
  • Floridians in need of assistance with federal resources following the impacts of Hurricane Idalia can contact Senator Scott’s office at: www.rickscott.senate.gov/contact/casework
  • If you are suspicious of fraud, please report it immediately at: FraudFreeFlorida.com
    • Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline: 1-800-966-7226
    • Agriculture & Consumer Services Price Gouging Hotline: 1-800-435-7352
    • Insurance Fraud Hotline: 1-800-378-0445
  • Florida has now activated the Businesses Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Idalia: floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments
    • Survey results will allow the state to expedite Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses.

After a Storm

  • If you were advised to evacuate, do not return home until it is safe to do so.
  • Be mindful of debris and down power lines.
  • Do not drive or walk around outside if you do not have to.
  • Use extreme caution when operating heavy machinery, generators, or while removing debris. Never use generators indoors and keep them away from windows, doors and vents.
  • Stay off roads so that emergency workers are able to get through.
  • Do not drive or walk through flood waters. Be aware of downed power lines, standing water and other hidden hazards.

Hurricane Preparedness Resources Websites

  • FEMA: Visit FEMA for up-to-date information, support, services, and to apply for disaster assistance following a storm.
  • SBA: Visit SBA to learn about low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from a major disaster.
  • FloridaDisaster.org: Visit FloridaDisaster.org for resources and information on creating a personalized emergency plan for your family.
  • HUD: Visit HUD to learn about housing assistance available to homeowners and renters.
  • National Hurricane Center: Visit NHC for the latest updates on tropical weather threats.

Helpful Accounts on Twitter

Senator Scott encourages all Floridians to visit his website at https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/hurricane-season-resources for federal resources. See the latest from the Florida Division of Emergency Management at floridadisaster.org or @FLSERT on Twitter.



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