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Federal funds to help with hurricane damage recovery

Florida residents may be pleased to learn that debris cleanup from Hurricane Michael will continue to be reimbursed by the federal government. Communities in the Panhandle area of the state will reportedly save hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the federal decision, said the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Earlier, the eastern Panhandle had been directed to choose five days of cleanup from the storm to receive full federal reimbursement of all costs. However, this 5-day period was extended to 45 days after a meeting between state officials and President Trump.

Hurricane damage continues to be a problem throughout the state, and the press conference announcing the change was made in front of the damaged headquarters of the Jackson County Road Department. The Oct. 10 storm caused significant damage to public facilities, businesses and homes throughout the area. The state also announced that it intends to continue to seek federal funds to support cleanup efforts, including an increase in debris reimbursement from 75 percent to 90 percent. Several Northwest Florida politicians said that they feared support would dry up now that attention has shifted away from the storm.

Hurricane Michael largely avoided major cities and prominent agricultural areas, but it still caused substantial damage in a state still facing lingering effects of previous hurricanes. Agricultural damage alone was predicted to reach $1.49 billion. Meanwhile, over 142,000 insurance claims have been filed with homeowners and business owners suffering at least $5.27 billion in damages.

Despite the widespread devastation, some Florida homeowners are facing pushback, delays or even claim denials from their insurance companies. They may be facing mounting repair costs as a result of the storm. An attorney may work with homeowners dealing with recalcitrant insurers to help their hurricane damage claims move forward.

Source: FOX 35, "Feds boost money for Hurricane Michael recovery", Jim Turner, 01/24/2019

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