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Posted: September 12, 2017

Irma recovery: How to apply for financial help


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Jean Chatelier walks through a flooded street from Hurricane Irma after retrieving his uniform from his house to return to work today at a supermarket in Fort Myers, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Chatelier walked about a mile each way in knee-high water as a Publix supermarket was planning on reopening to the public today. 'I want to go back to work. I want to help,' said Chatelier. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

The water has started recede, and homeowners and business owners are being allowed back to survey the damage. 

While recovery and rebuilding will be expensive, there will be financial assistance available.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers help in federally declared disaster areas. 

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To apply, go to Disaster Assistance.gov to start the process. You have 60 days from the day that the area was issued a declaration for Individual Assistance to apply. If you cannot apply online, call 800-621-3362.

>>Irma damage: Displaced Floridians now decide when to return home

If you are given an Individual Assistance grant, it is not required to pay back the money, according to FEMA.

There’s no income threshold, but some people will be directed to the Small Business Administration for help, FEMA said

>>Photos: Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, leaves damage behind

The SBA is offering loans if you are in an affected area. These are loans and will have to be paid back.

>> Click here for updated information on counties eligible for SBA disaster loans in Florida, Puero Rico and US Virgin Island.

As of Sept. 14, 2017, the affected areas eligible for SBA disaster loans:

  • Florida: revard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Sarasota.
  • Puerto Rico: Culebra and Vieques counties.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Saint John and Saint Thomas.

For people living in some parts of Florida, they can get Economic Injury Loans. The following contiguous Florida counties are eligible for Economic Injury Loans only: Angelina, Atascosa, Brooks, Burleson, Caldwell, Grimes, Guadalupe, Houston, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Live Oak, Madison, Milam, San Augustine, Shelby, Travis, Trinity, Washington, Williamson, Wilson..

You apply online by clicking here. You can also use the link to check the status of the application.

If you have any questions, call the Small Business Administration at 1-800-659-2955.

The SBA loans kick in after insurance and funding from FEMA. It can be used for real estate, personal property and economic injury. 

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It gives low-interest loans to businesses, renters and homeowners in areas that are declared as an affected region by the SBA.


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