I’m Dana Morris, attorney at the Morris Law Firm, and I will do my very best to pass along the information that I receive about assistance available to victims of Hurricane Michael.  It is important to me that you are informed about help available to you.

How to register for financial assistance following the devastation of Hurricane Michael in Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor,  Wakulla and Washington counties

Residents have several methods to register for financial assistance grants from FEMA.

  • Call 1-800-621-FEMA
  • Visit www.disasterassistance.gov
  • Talk with a FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance team
  • FEMA teams are going door-to-door to help people register. FEMA representatives are wearing blue vests with FEMA logos and are carrying FEMA identification. Do not provide personal information to anyone who does not have that identification.
  • Representatives will be at Sam’s Club on 23rd Street in Panama City, Bay County, starting October 16th to help with filing a claim and we have been told that they will be offering temporary housing allowances for those who are not insured.  This has not been confirmed, but we hope that it is true.

After filing for assistance through FEMA you will want to apply for a loan through the SBA (Small Business Administration).

  • Call 1-800-659-2955
  • Visit www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/

The assistance offered through SBA after a disaster is available to both homeowners and business owners.  You do not have to be a business owner to qualify for a loan through the SBA disaster loan program.  It is a low interest rate loan that can be used for, among other things, home repairs by homeowners or for business losses such as economic injury by business owners.  We contacted SBA today and were told that the interest rate for a homeowner’s SBA disaster loan would be between 2% and 4%.  The rate for the SBA disaster business loan would be approximately 4%.  30 year and 7 year terms would be determined.

Tax Relief is available for residents and businesses affected by Hurricane Michael

Individuals who reside or have a business in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor,  Wakulla and Washington counties may qualify for tax relief.

The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Oct. 7, 2018 and before Feb. 28, 2019, are granted additional time to file through Feb. 28, 2019. This includes taxpayers who had a valid extension to file their 2017 return due to run out on Oct. 15, 2018. It also includes the quarterly estimated income tax payments due on Jan. 15, 2019 and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019. It also includes tax-exempt organizations that operate on a calendar-year basis that had an automatic extension due to run out on Nov. 15, 2018. Businesses with extensions also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year corporations whose 2017 extensions run out on Oct. 15, 2018.

How to apply for unemployment benefits for victims of Hurricane Michael

  • Call 1-800-204-2418
  • Visit https://connect.myflorida.com/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX

You must provide the following information to complete your application:

  • Social Security number.
  • Alien registration number and expiration date (if applicable).
  • Name and address of your last employer.
  • If you worked in another state during the past two years, have the name and address of the out-of-state employer.
  • If self-employed and have proof of self-employment for the past two years. (For example, W-2 statements, state or federal tax returns, bank records of accounts, statement from a bank showing your business account, or a copy of title or deed to a business property.)
  • If you were scheduled to work but could not work due to the disaster, you must have the name and address of the employer and date you were scheduled to work.

Contact your mortgage company if you were impacted by Hurricane Michael to see if your mortgage company is offering deferred payments

  • Many homeowners are eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months, during which time they:
    • will not incur late fees during this temporary payment break
    • will not have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus