“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” Mr. (Fred) Rogers
Charlotte, N.C. (October 25, 2016)—If you or someone you know were impacted by Hurricane Matthew and the subsequent flooding, please know that there may be help available through disaster human services programs. This article will help homeowners, renters, and business owners become aware of the assistance application process. For more information on the process, visit www.FEMA.gov.
Register for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Call 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov. Have a pen and paper ready to record information from the FEMA operator, including a registration number, and be ready to provide the following information when you call:
- Social Security number
- Address of damaged home or apartment and description of the damage
- Financial information such as your family's gross total household income at the time of the disaster
- Information about types of insurance coverage you have
- A current contact telephone number and address where you can receive mail
- Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds
Residents in the following counties in the Carolinas are encouraged to register with FEMA, as they may be eligible for disaster assistance:
South Carolina Counties: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Calhoun, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.
North Carolina Counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne and Wilson counties.
After you apply, you can expect:
- To receive a packet in the mail with information about assistance.
- A call from a FEMA home inspector within about 10 days to set up a visit.
- A 10-20 minute visit from the inspector to assess property damage. Inspector(s) will be wearing a FEMA identification badge and they will NOT ask for money.
- Notification whether your claim is approved or denied.
You will receive a letter indicating whether your claim has been approved or denied.
- If your claim is approved, follow the instructions on the letter.
- If your letter is denied or you disagree with FEMA’s decision:
- Read the letter carefully to find out why the decision was made. Do you need to provide additional information?
- Contact FEMA for filing an appeal or with any questions by calling the same number you called to register: 1-800-621-3362. You may also go to your nearest Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to find assistance or ask about an appeal. Find your local DRC by visiting the website www.FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or download the FEMA app to your phone.
- A denial can be appealed multiple times.
- File a written appeal explaining why you think the decision was not correct, providing supporting information and documentation. Be sure to include your FEMA registration number and mail or fax your appeal within 60 days of the date on the decision letter.
Complete the SBA (Small Business Administration) loan application. This SBA loan application form must be completed to potentially qualify for further assistance. Note: The SBA loan is for households as well as businesses.
Helpful Hints for Disaster Assistance
About The Salvation Army
- People sometimes do not realize they are eligible for FEMA assistance or resources. They are often put off by the process or do not understand the process. Essentially, anyone who has damage to their home, whether they own or rent it, who is in need of financial assistance or who has other disaster related needs can and should apply.
- FEMA needs to know that you need assistance. Call their toll-free number 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov to learn more about FEMA assistance programs and your eligibility.
- Keep your notes for your reference.
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.