How to get paid back for Irma loss

Many can be re­im­bursed for tossed food, ru­ined prop­erty and lack of in­come

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Front Page - By Anne Geg­gis Staff writer

South Florid­i­ans who lost food, in­come or prop­erty dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Irma may be el­i­gi­ble for spe­cial cards worth hun­dreds of dol­lars to cover their losses.

A fed­eral aid pro­gram kicked off Wednesday, dis­tribut­ing cards that can be re­deemed for food at most gro­cery stores.

Those who are cur­rently re­ceiv­ing food stamp as­sis­tance from the gov­ern­ment aren’t el­i­gi­ble.

There are seven lo­ca­tions to meet with pro­gram or­ga­niz­ers across Broward and Mi­ami-Dade coun­ties, and three more sites will open next week in Palm Beach County.

Ap­pli­cants must de­clare their losses, in­come and as­sets to par­tic­i­pate. The pay­ments, based on in­come level, will be based on how much was lost in the storm in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber:

A per­son who makes no more than $1,664 monthly is el­i­gi­ble for up to $194 for Septem­ber and $192 for Oc­to­ber.

A fam­ily of four with an in­come of no more than $2,710 per month could re­ceive up to $649 for Septem­ber and $640 for Oc­to­ber.

The Florida Dis­as­ter Food As­sis­tance Pro­gram is ex­pected to help 276,000 res­i­dents in Broward

County, 200,000 in Palm Beach County and more than 300,000 in Mi­amiDade County, said Paige Patterson-Hughes, spokes­woman for the state Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies.

DCF is ad­min­is­ter­ing the pro­gram run by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

Al­ready, there is big de­mand for it. Hun­dreds stood in line Wednesday at Quiet Wa­ters Park in Deer­field Beach to par­tic­i­pate.

Un­der a tent, par­tic­i­pants met with pro­gram of­fi­cials and walked away with blue and white, plas­tic-coated cards. They look sim­i­lar to the elec­tronic ben­e­fit cards used by peo­ple who re­ceive the cus­tom­ary state food as­sis­tance.

Peo­ple re­ported get­ting in and out within 15 min­utes if they pre-reg­is­tered.

Peo­ple are en­cour­aged to pre-reg­is­ter at myflfam­i­lies.com/fff, then go to one of the lo­ca­tions with their pre-reg­is­tra­tion num­ber, Patterson-Hughes said. “You will move more quickly if you are pre-reg­is­tered,” Patterson-Hughes said.

Nurs­ing as­sis­tants Daphne Ral­li­ford, of Laud­erdale Lakes, and Ann Cas­sell, of North Laud­erdale, had no power for seven days and said their losses added up.

“My chicken, my ox­tail, my milk,” Cas­sell said.

Ral­li­ford added: “I lost ev­ery­thing.”

Erick Allen, 70, of Pom­pano Beach, lost power for five days in the storm and lost a host of meats, but he lamented los­ing his caramel candy the most.

“My Milk Duds,” he said. “They just don’t taste the same un­less they are frozen.”

CARLINE JEAN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Peo­ple wait­ing in line at C.B. Smith Park in Pem­broke Pines for the re­im­burse­ment pro­gram. There will be 10 such sites in South Florida.

JOE CAVARETTA/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Peo­ple wait in line for re­lief Wednesday at Quiet Wa­ters Park in Deer­field Beach. Of­fi­cials ad­vise reg­is­ter­ing on­line first.

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