How to get paid back for Irma loss
Many can be reimbursed for tossed food, ruined property and lack of income
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.”
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.
People wait in line for relief Wednesday at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach. Officials advise registering online first.