TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Specialists with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are reaching out to survivors in Florida’s hardest hit Panhandle communities to help individuals register for assistance. Survivors may meet a specialist in their neighborhood or speak to one on the phone.
Crews of FEMA disaster survivor assistance specialists are canvassing affected areas to provide on-site registration assistance, address immediate and emerging needs, and answer any questions specific to the registration process. Specialists can also provide referrals to additional resources.
FEMA crews are visiting homes, businesses, local organizations and churches in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Using tablets, crew members can help a survivor fill out an application for assistance on the spot – collecting information in person. Crew members can be identified easily by their photo badges and FEMA clothing. Florida residents are reminded to ask for federal identification before providing personal information.
Survivors in designated counties may also receive a phone call from FEMA Individual Assistance specialists if they have already registered for disaster assistance.
If called, applicants could be asked to verify their identity with some of the following information:
The last four digits of their Social Security number.
The address of their damaged home.
The applicant’s current mailing address.
The applicant’s current phone number.
If applicants receive a phone call from FEMA representatives and question the validity of the caller, they can contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 to verify the source of the call. The FEMA representative will then make another attempt to call the applicant back. FEMA will not call applicants to request any banking information.
Those who suspect anyone of committing fraudulent activities should call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline toll-free at 866-720-5721. Complaints may also be made to Florida’s Office of the Attorney General at the state toll-free number: 866-966-7226.
Survivors in the counties currently designated for Individual Assistance can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.