Hurricane Ian left a broad swath of destruction after making landfall in Florida on Sept. 28. The storm flooded areas across the state, tore homes from their slabs, demolished beachfront businesses and left more than 2 million people without power.
After a major storm passes through a region, many people rely on generators to provide the energy they need until power is restored. Recent online searches show that people are wondering whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will offer reimbursements to people who had to buy or rent a new generator as a result of Ian.
Will FEMA reimburse people who purchased or rented a generator during Hurricane Ian?
Yes, FEMA will reimburse people who purchased or rented a generator during Hurricane Ian, but certain eligibility requirements must be met to qualify.
WHAT WE FOUND
Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the president can enact two types of disaster declarations — emergency declarations and major disaster declarations. Both declaration types authorize the president to provide supplemental federal disaster assistance.
For instance, the president can declare a major disaster for any natural event, including a hurricane, tornado, storm, fire, flood, or explosion, that “has caused damage of such severity that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond,” according to FEMA.
FEMA provides financial assistance to individuals and households who incurred certain miscellaneous expenses during a disaster under the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) provision of the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Eligible items must be purchased or rented after the incident to assist with disaster recovery.
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In order to qualify for individual assistance from FEMA, a state must receive a major disaster declaration from the president. Areas of Florida that were impacted by Hurricane Ian received that declaration from President Joe Biden on Sept. 29.
In an email, a FEMA spokesperson told VERIFY that some Florida hurricane survivors who purchased or rented a generator as a result of Hurricane Ian may be eligible for reimbursement. In order to qualify, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Meets the general eligibility requirements for IHP;
- The home is the applicant’s primary residence and is located in an area designated for Individual Assistance (IA);
- The generator was purchased or rented due to a disruption in electrical utility service caused by a presidentially-declared disaster;
- Proof-of-purchase or rental receipts for the generator are submitted by the applicant;
- The generator was purchased or rented to power a medically-required piece of equipment, including a medically-required refrigerator; and
- The applicant provides a statement from a medical services provider, reflecting the generator is medically necessary.
“Generator reimbursement claims are handled on a case-by-case basis. Applicants will need to substantiate their claim by providing FEMA with a rental or purchase receipt and, if applicable, a statement from a medical services provider, reflecting the generator is medically necessary,” the spokesperson said.
FEMA cannot provide reimbursement for equipment paid for by another source, such as homeowners, flood, or other types of insurance. Duplicate payments or reimbursements for assistance provided by insurance or any other source are prohibited by law.
Florida homeowners and renters affected by Hurricane Ian who live in areas that have been designated for individual assistance could be eligible to receive help from FEMA. Those areas include Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. To apply, visit disasterassistance.gov/ or call 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time. You can also apply on the FEMA mobile app.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.