Public reimbursement period officially extended to 60 days after Hurricane Ian
Cars and debris from washed away homes line a canal in Fort Myers Beach. Image via AP.

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Governments will have debris removal and other costs completely covered by FEMA dollars.

President Joe Biden formally granted a 30-day extension to seek full reimbursement of public assistance expenses after Hurricane Ian. Gov. Ron DeSantis requested the assistance, and the White House announced it would be granted during a visit to Southwest Florida by Biden this week.

Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has officially amended the Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Ian. Areas declared as major disaster areas initially have 30 days when public disaster recovery costs, including debris removal, will be fully reimbursed by FEMA. The amendment authorization doubles that amount of time.

“Hurricane Ian left devastating impacts in Southwest, Central and Northeast Florida, and every extra day of assistance helps communities clean up and rebuild,” Guthrie said.

“I want to thank Governor DeSantis for his swift leadership in securing every resource possible for impacted communities, and to our federal partners at FEMA for working closely with our recovery teams to assess damages and free up available funding.”

Importantly, the change in reimbursement period applies only to public costs incurred by state and local government and partnered nonprofit organizations. Individuals seeking assistance from FEMA can apply online. Households seeking assistance can call a Crisis Cleanup Hotline at 800-451-1954 through Oct. 28.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida at Cayo Costa on Sept. 27. Biden’s declaration, issued on Sept. 29, notably covers storm preparation as well, dating back to Sept. 23.

The major disaster declaration allows the full reimbursements in 19 counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia.

Additionally, any county in Florida may seek assistance for emergency protective measures taken before the storm, which at various points had forecast tracks threatening most of the state. The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are also eligible for assistance.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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