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FEMA extends deadline, seasonal residents can't qualify for assistance

FEMA deadline approaches
Posted at 4:24 PM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 18:26:09-05

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — If you haven't applied for FEMA assistance, the good news the deadline was extended.

Instead of November 28th, Florida residents now have until January 12th, 2023.

However, not everyone who owns property in the state of Florida can apply for assistance.

Applicants must have a primary residence in Florida.

“We want to get the people back on their feet," said Mike Wade, a spokesman for FEMA. "If this is their primary residence and they live here year-round. Secondary homes do not meet those criteria.”

Wade said when applying for FEMA assistance, residents will have to show proof that they live in the state of Florida year-round.

“Oh I didn’t know—they can't? Even if they own a home here," questioned Paula Berkowitz, a Lee County resident.

Berkowitz was surprised to hear that, even though she is a permanent Lee County resident. Fox 4 met her outside of FEMA's new disaster recovery center since we weren't allowed inside for security purposes.

“I came to see what FEMA can help me with, as far as the cost of repairs,” Berkowitz said.

A scenario many across southwest Florida are faced with as they try and pick up the pieces of destruction, but now they have a little longer to apply.

“We don’t want survivors waiting until the last minute,” said Wade.

The last minute to file for help with repairs, rental assistance, and FEMA trailers.

“This also goes for renters. Renters can apply, a lot of people forget about renters," Wade said.

Wade added that the extension was possible because Governor Ron DeSantis' office applied for the extension and FEMA believed it was justified.

Wade also emphasized that FEMA will never ask for money from residents. He said if someone tells you they are with FEMA and asks for money, call the sheriff.