Irma aid in­cludes fore­clo­sure de­lays

Res­i­dents also el­i­gi­ble for waived late fees

Orlando Sentinel - - HURRICANE IRMA - By Mary Shanklin mshanklin@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com or 407-420-5538 Staff Writer

Cen­tral Florida’s Hur­ri­cane Irma vic­tims have be­come el­i­gi­ble for ev­ery­thing from waived late fees on credit cards to tax ex­ten­sions and de­layed fore­clo­sures un­der a wave of new pub­lic and pri­vate aid.

With the re­gion des­ig­nated for “in­di­vid­ual as­sis­tance” by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, a range of pub­lic and pri­vate pro­grams be­come avail­able. Some tar­get res­i­dents im­pacted by the hur­ri­cane, while oth­ers are aimed more broadly at any­one who lives in the re­gion.

“I can­not count how many folks in Lake County and through­out all of District 15 I spoke to per­son­ally, telling me they can’t even get to work or find gro­ceries for their kids, let alone make a tax fil­ing on time,” said U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross, a Repub­li­can who ad­vo­cated for fed­eral tax re­lief.

Aid and pro­vi­sions granted to res­i­dents of Cen­tral Florida and other ar­eas des­ig­nated for greater fed­eral re­lief in­clude:

FEMA’s In­di­vid­u­als and House­holds Pro­gram of­fers af­fected res­i­dents fi­nan­cial help more med­i­cal, den­tal, child care, fu­neral, per­sonal prop­erty and trans­porta­tion ex­penses. The pro­gram also pro­vides funds for tem­po­rary hous­ing, re­pairs and con­struc­tion. De­tails: 800-621-3362

Dis­as­ter Un­em­ploy­ment As­sis­tance pro­vides un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits and re-em­ploy­ment ser­vices to peo­ple who lost their jobs be­cause of the hur­ri­cane and who are not el­i­gi­ble for state un­em­ploy­ment. De­tails: 800-621-3362

In part­ner­ship with the Young Lawyers Di­vi­sion of the Amer­i­can Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, FEMA pro­vides free le­gal help to low-in­come dis­as­ter sur­vivors who need as­sis­tance fil­ing their storm-re­lated com­plaints. De­tails: 800-621-3362

JPMor­gan Chase will waive or re­fund late fees on mort­gages, credit cards and auto loans through Sept. 24. It will also waive over­draft and ser­vice fees for that pe­riod. De­tails: 1-888-346-0023

HUD granted a 90-day mora­to­rium on fore­clo­sures for mort­gages backed by the Fed­eral Hous­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion. There are more than 280,000 FHA-in­sured Florida home­own­ers liv­ing in these im­pacted coun­ties. De­tails: 1-800-569-4287

The IRS ex­tended a dead­line to­day for cer­tain in­di­vid­ual and busi­ness fil­ings un­til Jan. 31. This in­cludes an ad­di­tional fil­ing ex­ten­sion for tax­pay­ers with valid ex­ten­sions that run out Oct. 16, and busi­nesses with ex­ten­sions that run out to­day. So tax­pay­ers in the re­gion have un­til Jan. 31 to file re­turns and pay any taxes that had been due as of Sept. 4. This in­cludes dead­lines for quar­terly pay­ments. For in­di­vid­ual tax fil­ers, it also in­cludes 2016 in­come tax re­turns that got an ex­ten­sion un­til Oct. 16. But late pay­ments due in April don’t qual­ify.

For home­own­ers or renters who have lost their homes, HUD’s Sec­tion 203(h) pro­gram gives FHA in­surance to dis­as­ter vic­tims who have to re­build or pur­chase another house. The loans come with no down pay­ment and greater for­give­ness of low credit scores. De­tails: 1-800-569-4287

Re­bates could be on the way for cell­phone and in­ter­net cus­tomers. U.S. Sen. Bill Nel­son, a Demo­crat, re­quested the na­tion’s largest cable, tele­phone and in­ter­net providers to­day to pro­vide Hur­ri­cane Irma vic­tims re­bates for ser­vice in­ter­rup­tions and im­pose a 60-day mora­to­rium on late fees and other penal­ties. Nel­son sent re­quest let­ters to the CEOs of AT&T, Cen­tu­ryLink, Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Com­cast, Cox En­ter­prises, Fron­tier Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sprint, T-Mo­bile and Ver­i­zon.

TED S. WAR­REN/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Texas and Florida are usu­ally the big­gest mar­kets for ReelSonar’s fish­ing de­vices and apps, so the dev­as­ta­tion from Hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma is ex­pected im­pact on sales, though the firm is based in Seat­tle.

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