Tampa Bay area victims impacted by Irma question why they’re denied for FEMA assistance

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Dozens of Tampa Bay area residents who have applied for FEMA assistance have been denied.

Linda Snyder wants to know why FEMA approved assistance for one son and denied the other.

Alex and Kris, twins, both suffered the same loss during the storm.

Snyder said Alex had to evacuate.

“Lost everything in his refrigerator, single income home. He has a wife and a one-year-old,” said Snyder.

Her son Kris left voluntarily.

“My other son went to his mother-in-law’s. They also lost everything they own, food wise,” she said.

Only Kris was approved.

“If they’re both without power and both displaced from their homes, they both lost all their food, they should be getting the money,” Snyder said.

Snyder has heard similar stories from other families.

“I’ve got friends, two family incomes, lost everything. They were denied. So there has to be a rhyme or reason as to how people are getting approved,” she said.

Keith St. Clair with FEMA said there is no criteria.

“People always wonder what certain criteria there are,” he said. “If we have mathematical formulas to figure out assistance. We really look at things on a case-by-case basis.”

St. Clair said you can appeal your case for a second look.

“If you have an application that was originally denied, see what the reason is, yes you can appeal the process, but sometimes things turn around pretty quickly,” he said. “I just heard of a case like that today. Somebody applied within the last week, was initially denied, but on further review of the case, they ended up getting that payment. They already received the money to help.”

FEMA opened the only Disaster Recovery Center Thursday in Riverview.

The DRC is at the Hillsborough Community College -The Regent located at 6437 Watson Road in Riverview. It is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week

As more centers open, survivors may locate one near them by going online or by calling FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

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