Update Center: Hurricane Idalia

Update Center: Hurricane Idalia

We help disaster survivors in the Tampa Bay area with disaster-related legal and social need problems such as insurance denials, contractor issues, consumer and debt problems, housing issues, advance directives, and other legal and social need matters.

Disaster Resource Guide for Hurricane Idalia


FEMA has opened applications for Individual Assistance for those impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Individual Assistance can include funds for temporary housing, funds to repair your home, and funds for other uninsured or under-insured disaster-caused expenses and needs. Visit the FEMA website for a complete list of eligible counties.

You can apply in the following ways:

FEMA Appeals

If you received a FEMA decision that you do not agree with, you are entitled to an appeal to have FEMA review your file again. This will give you an opportunity to provide new or additional information not previously submitted that may change the decision. An appeal must be made in writing, sent by mail or fax, and sent within 60 days of receipt of the FEMA letter. Appeals can be faxed to (800) 827-8112 or uploaded to your FEMA account at DisasterAssistance.gov.

A free online tool is available to help you create an appeal letter. Keep in mind this tool will not file the appeal for you. You will still have to mail, fax or upload the appeal letter yourself.


United Way can help connect disaster survivors and other members of communities with local and government resources. This service can be accessed just by dialing 211 on a local phone, and helps survivors find resources for basic needs like housing, food, transportation, healthcare and more.

Insurance Claims

If you have suffered damage to your property and have insurance, be sure to read and understand your insurance policies thoroughly when making a claim. Policies can differ in types of coverage and required information, and the time to provide that information to your insurer is often limited. United Policyholders maintains a library of resources for insurance and claims.

Beware of Fraud

In the wake of a disaster, it is common for scam artists and criminals to try to take advantage of disaster survivors. Be careful with whom you share personal information and report any suspicious activity. Visit the FEMA website for more information on disaster fraud and scams. Report unlicensed activity by contacting the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) at: (866) 532-1440 or online. You may also report price gouging to the Florida Attorney General’s office at: (866) 966-7226 or MyFloridaLegal.com

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

If you lost your job or had your self-employment interrupted because of the hurricane, you may be eligible for DUA. To file a claim, go to FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim”, visit a local CareerSource Center, or call (800) 385-3920.

Disaster Legal Aid Helplines

The Florida Disaster Legal Aid Helpline is available for disaster survivors anywhere in the State of Florida. The hotline is available to provide disaster survivors who cannot afford an attorney with free legal advice, and to connect those survivors with legal aid where they live. Survivors can call (833) 514-2940. Additional help is available to Hurricane Idalia survivors in FEMA-designated counties through Disaster Legal Services, a partnership between FEMA and the Florida Bar Young Lawyers’ Division. Survivors in FEMA-designated counties can call (866) 550-2929.

Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC)

Disaster Recovery Centers are coordinated efforts with FEMA, local government, and disaster relief groups to provide a place for disaster survivors to access various resources, apply for assistance, and receive information on disaster recovery. To determine if a DRC is open in your area, please visit the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center Locator website or call (800) 631-6362.

SNAP Benefits

Are you looking to apply for food assistance, seek help for lost food because of the hurricane, or looking for information on food assistance updates? Visit the Florida DCF website for the latest updates on SNAP/D-SNAP benefits and to apply for food assistance/food replacement.


These videos provide information on disaster recovery.

Staff Attorney John Lawless and Project Manager Jason Susalla with Bay Area Legal Services’ Disaster Relief Project and the Florida Disaster Legal Aid Helpline discuss simple steps anyone can take to avoid common issues while recovering from disaster.


Apply for Services

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

How do I apply? Am I eligible?

Bay Area Legal Services

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

Statewide Legal Helplines

If you live or have a case in Florida, we may be able to help.