Hurricane Michael

As the Florida Panhandle navigates the many road blocks that we face before us, LSNF is here to provide legal assistance, resources, and information that will help you understand any legal issues you may face. Below you will find websites, resources, and forms that relate to how Hurricane Michael may have or will affect you.

Are you affected by Hurricane Michael? The following are legal issues to consider in the first 6 weeks after a disaster:

  • Securing FEMA and other benefits, which you have the right to appeal if you disagree with the decision.
  • Making life, medical and property insurance claims. You should consent with an attorney if your claim is denied or too low.
  • Dealing with home repair contractors.
  • Replacing wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the hurricane.
  • Helping with consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures.
  • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems or landlord/tenant issues.

 Who has been affected?

Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington (additional counties may be added)

 

How to Help

Are you an attorney? Help LSNF respond to those in need!

Are you an attorney and want to help in our helpline? We are accepting pro bono support through all of our 16 counties. You can submit an application below or download the sign up form HERE!

PRO BONO ATTORNEY SIGN UP                                   I WANT TO DONATE!

 

FEMA (DR-4399)

Federal Emergency Management Agency: Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

 

People in the following counties are eligible to receive federal disaster assistance: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington.

 

For DR-4399, assistance for affected individuals and families is available and people are urged to apply through FEMA: Disaster Number: 4399

FEMA Mobile App

Calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish and press 3 for other languages.

 

Deadline to apply with FEMA is December 10, 2018.

If you need to appeal a FEMA denial on your own, please see here to get an interactive form to appeal and letter requesting a copy of your file.

For Frequently Asked Questions about FEMA appeals, please click here.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance ApplicationNovember 14, 2018
Registration with FEMA for Disaster AssistanceDecember 10, 2018
Appeal Your FEMA DecisionWithin 60 days of the date on the determination letter

 

Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) have opened: 

Bay County – Bay County Public Library 898 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401

Bay County – John B. Gore Park 599 Beulah Ave., Callaway, FL 32404

Calhoun County– Sam Atkins Park NW Silas Green Street, Blountstown, FL 32424

Calhoun County- Altha School Parking Lot 25793 North Main Street, Altha, FL 32421

Franklin County – Carrabelle Public Library 311 St. James Ave, Carrabelle, FL 32322

Gadsden County – (Old) Gretna Elementary 706 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Gretna, FL 32332

Gulf County- Port St. Joe Library 110 Library Drive, Port ST. Joe, FL 32456

Gulf County – Wewahitchka Town Hall 211 Florida 71, Wewahitchka, FL 32465

Holmes County – Holmes County Agricultural Center 1169 US 90, Bonifay, FL 32425

Jackson County – University Extension Office 2737 Penn Ave, Marianna, FL 32448

Leon County – LeRoy Collins Main Library 200 West Park Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Liberty County – Veterans’ Memorial Park 10405 NW Theo Jacobs Way Bristol, FL 32321 

Wakulla County – Community One Stop 318 Shadeville Hwy, Crawfordville, FL 32327

Washington County – Washington County Ag Center 1424 Jackson Ave, Chipley, FL 32428

 

Mobile Registration Intake Centers

FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a map of Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRIC) deployed across the panhandle. These Centers are available to help Hurricane Michael survivors in applying for FEMA assistance. View map here. **There are currently 11 MRICs from Lynn Haven, Florida to Calhoun County, Florida, which are in addition to the brick-and mortar Disaster Recovery Center located in Wakulla County, Florida.

LSNF Disaster FEMA Relief Brochure

LSNF Disaster Food Stamp Brochure

LSNF Disaster Unemployment Assistance

 

Public Benefits

Disaster Unemployment Assistance:  Residents and businesses in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties are now able to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA is available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael. Individuals affected in these designated-disaster areas must file DUA applications by November 14, 2018. To learn more or to apply, go to: https://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/disaster.asp

NELP’s Webpage Devoted to Disaster Recovery Benefits

The Department of Children & Families Replaces Food Assistance Benefits for Customers Impacted by Hurricane Michael

 

Replacement Food Stamps

For those who receive food stamps (also called SNAP) who also lost power due to Hurricane Michael, you may be eligible for Replacement Food Stamps. To request replacement food stamps, fill out the replacement form at DCF’s website. Return the form to DCF in person, by mail or fax within 10 days of the loss. Make sure to keep proof of your request. This program is different than disaster food stamps/SNAP, which have not yet been made available.  The Replacement Food Stamps form can be found at http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/DCFForms/Search/OpenDCFForm.aspx?FormId=597

DCF has announced replacement of SNAP at 40% for households currently on SNAP  residing in  Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington counties. In addition, DCF also has announced  that households in Hurricane Michael counties can purchase hot food with their SNAP benefits  through 10/31.  See http://www.myflfamilies.com/newsroom.

 

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has initiated the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in 12 counties to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. DCF anticipates serving approximately 130,000 families through the federal DSNAP program as a result of Hurricane Michael. DCF served more than 1.2 million households for Hurricane Irma disaster food assistance last year.

To qualify for D-SNAP, applicants must have lived or worked in one of the counties declared for FEMA Individual Assistance on October 10, and not be receiving food assistance through the regular SNAP program. Additionally, eligible individuals and families must have suffered a disaster-related loss, such as damage to their homes or self-employment property, loss of food, reduction or loss of income, or have incurred other disaster-related expenses. Applicants must also be financially eligible. DCF will provide or mail Electronic Benefits Transfer cards to eligible individuals and families to use at authorized USDA food retailers. Learn more HERE!

 

FLOW (Florida Licensing on Wheels)

Florida’s Department of Highway Safety is operating mobile driver license and motor vehicle services (called FLOW) for Hurricane Michael survivors  to renew, obtain or replace driver’s licenses, ID cards, and  disabled parking permits as well as  to change names or addresses  on licenses and  ID cards.  Go to  https://www.flhsmv.gov/locations/florida-licensing-wheels-flow/ for more information.

 

Landlord-Tenant

Disaster Information for Renters

People who have sustained property damage as a result of the severe storms and flooding are urged to register with FEMA, as they may be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance. People can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or web-enabled device at m.fema.gov. Applicants also may call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Flood survivors are also encouraged to call the FEMA hotline to report their damage. For more information on Florida’s recovery: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4399

The Blue Roof Program

If you are still faced with damage to your roof while trying to make repairs to your home due to Hurricane Michael, The Blue Roof Program may be able to help. This program is making temporary repairs to partially damaged roofs. Call 1-888-ROOF-BLU or go to https://www.flgov.com/2018/10/17/gov-scott-operation-blue-roof-to-help-families-temporarily-repair-homes-at-no-cost/ **NOTE: To be eligible, the roof must not have more than 50% structural damage and the owner must give right of entry to the property.

 

Title issues/Heir Property

No Place Like Home (Clear Title) Brochure

 

Insurance (Health & Home)

Florida KidCare Premiums

Following the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael, the Board of Directors for the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation has decided to cover monthly premium payments in the 12 counties designated by FEMA as eligible for individual assistance, which include: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington. The Board also approved a renewal extension period until February 1, 2019, for families in those counties whose regular annual renewal falls between November 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019. For more information about Florida KidCare, visit floridakidcare.org

United Policyholders – UP specializes in helping disaster survivors with insurance claim issues.

Emergency Prescription Assistance Program

The  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has activated the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program  (EPAP) to allow uninsured Floridians free replacements of certain medical supplies, equipment and medications lost or damaged by Hurricane Michael through 11/15/2018. HHS says that  uninsured Floridians affected by Michael can  visit www.phe.gov/epap .or call 855-793-7470 to see if their medication or medical/supplies or equipment are covered and to find a participating pharmacy. Click here for more EPAP information.

 

Consumer issues

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for eligible applicants. SBA helps businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or damaged personal property. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries.

For more information, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at disasterloan.sba.gov. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

Legal Assistance Consumer Guide: The Florida Bar’s “Mass Disaster” consumer guide provides information for consumers on whom to contact for legal assistance and how to protect their legal rights in the event of a mass disaster: linked here.

Price Gouging – Attorney General Pam Bondi activated Florida’s price gouging hotline for all consumers in Florida at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226). Problems with insurance companies can be directed to the Attorney General’s office by calling 1-866-966-7226 or by calling the Florida Department of Financial Services at 1-800-342-2762.

 

Disability

iBudget Waiver Services

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) has released Guidance Regarding iBudget Waiver Services During Hurricane Michael Recovery for October 2018 governing services provided in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Included are APD’s expectation that providers continue to “provide all services, to the best of their ability, without disruption,” APD’s pledge to honor services that are provided in good faith, and a description of how services for displaced survivors are to be handled.

 

Disaster Legal Hotline: 1-866-550-2929

CALL – A TOLL-FREE LEGAL AID HOTLINE is now available for Michael survivors who cannot pay for an attorney: 1-866-550-2929. The hotline operates through a partnership between The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Disaster Legal Aid – A centralized national resource for legal aid

American Bar Association – Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness

Florida Disaster, Division of Emergency Management – Latest updates on Hurricane Michael

Florida Bar – Hurricane Resources

 

In the Media

Disaster Legal Hotline

Legal Services Corporation Disaster Task Force

FEMA’s News & Updates- Florida Hurricane Michael

Housing Crisis Explodes in Panama City

 

Legal Aid Resources

Disaster Legal Hotline: 1-866-550-2929

CALL – A TOLL-FREE LEGAL AID HOTLINE is now available for Michael survivors who cannot pay for an attorney: 1-866-550-2929. The hotline operates through a partnership between The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

 

Legal Aid Assistance – Resources and volunteer opportunities for legal aid and pro bono attorneys and information to help Floridians seeking civil legal aid are listed at https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/storm-aid. The Florida Bar Foundation created the Florida Hurricane Legal Aid Fund for civil legal assistance for Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael and any subsequent hurricanes that make landfall in Florida.

Unethical Conduct – Those who feel they have been unfairly treated by a lawyer should contact The Florida Bar’s Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP) at 1-866-352-0707. Only Florida Bar members who are eligible to practice can give legal advice and provide legal services.

The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to U.S. residents.

American Red Cross Shelter Locator

Hurricane Michael Disaster Unemployment Assistance Fact Sheet

Recommendations for Reform of Federal DUA and State UI to Address Disaster

Worker Safety During Clean-Up and Recovery From Hurricanes

Florida Bar Hurrican Resources

US Army Corps of Engineers Readiness