Hurricane Irene Aftermath
October 19, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...

Disaster assistance deadline now extended until Nov. 30

Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc when it hit North Carolina two months ago and disaster survivors now have more time to get help.

The new deadline to register for state and federal disaster assistance is Nov. 30.

North Carolina Emergency Management asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an extension based on continued registrations indicating some survivors are still assessing hurricane damage and need more time to apply for assistance. The new deadline also provides more time to return applications for low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.

There are a number of state and federal programs to help those with hurricane-related losses repair their homes, replace damaged property, and find a place to live while waiting to move back home.

People in the 38 designated counties, including Hyde and Dare, must register with FEMA to get disaster assistance. You can register with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) or going online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov. You can also register with a tablet or smartphone at m.fema.gov.

Applying for help from the American Red Cross or other volunteer organization is not the same as registering with FEMA.

You should register with FEMA even if you have insurance or if you got help from FEMA after an earlier disaster -- the tornadoes in the spring, for example.

FEMA grants may pay rent for a temporary place to live while work is being done on your home.

FEMA disaster assistance may pay for losses not covered by insurance. Most insurance policies, for example, will not pay to repair a hurricane-damaged well or septic system.

Disaster assistance grants do not affect eligibility for Social Security, food stamps, or other government assistance programs.


October 10, 2011

Hurricane Irene Help Update: Assistance is still available



Help for Hurricane Irene victims is still available from state and government agencies.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance is offering assistance to residents who are dissatisfied with the service they have received from insurers and adjusters for their hurricane-related claims. Included is an insurance assistance center on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in Salvo.

The deadline for applying for federal assistance from FEMA is coming up on Oct. 31, and all of those affected by the storm are urged to register, even if they are unsure of their eligibility.

A public meeting to review state and federal disaster assistance programs and initiatives is scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Salvo Fire Department. The meeting will include representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management (NCDEM).  Discussions will include the Small Business Administration, the National Flood Insurance Program, hazard mitigation, and temporary housing.  FEMA and NCDEM representatives will be available to answer any questions from those in attendance. 

The deadline for filing for disaster unemployment assistance has been extended to Nov. 1.

Finally, families whose homes are not habitable after the hurricane can still get assistance with finding temporary accommodations. Laura Dillard, housing counselor with the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management, has relocated from the tri-villages Community Center to Midgett Realty in Rodanthe. 

Dillard wants to hear from individuals and families who need housing and anyone who may be able to offer temporary, affordable accommodations. She can be reached at the realty office or by calling 919-812-1402.

Here are some more details

HURRICANE RELATED INSURANCE CLAIMS

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said in a release last week that he “continues to work for North Carolinians amidst concerns that some residents are dissatisfied with the service they've received from insurers and adjusters while filing insurance claims related to Hurricane Irene.”

Goodwin has traveled through eastern and coastal communities to talk to residents and officials about their experiences.

"I have been in direct contact with insurance companies and the National Flood Insurance Program to put pressure on them to do what's right for policyholders," Goodwin said. "When it comes to insurance, I will assist and advocate for the residents of North Carolina in whatever way I can."

In addition, Goodwin has established a series of Insurance Assistance Centers, where people with insurance questions or complaints can meet with representatives from the Department of Insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program in person. People should bring their policy information with them when requesting assistance.

"If you have a question or complaint about your claim, we need to hear from you," said Goodwin. "The more specific information we have from you, the more we may be able to help."

The Hatteras Island insurance assistance center will be open on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Salvo Volunteer Fire Department.

Assistance is also available by phone during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.

Department of Insurance, Consumer Services Division: 800-546-5664 (toll free in North Carolina) or 919-807-6750. National Flood Insurance Program, Greenville Claims Center: 252-321-0417.

FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE

Hurricane Irene survivors have less than three weeks to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Oct. 31 is the deadline to apply for federal grants and return low-interest disaster loan applications from the Small Business Administration.

North Carolina Emergency Management and FEMA urge those who sustained disaster-related losses to register for federal aid, even if they are unsure of their eligibility.

There are three ways to register with FEMA:

1. Call 800-621-FEMA (3362). Help is available in most languages. People who have a speech disability or are deaf or hard of hearing may call (TTY) 800-462-7585.

2.  Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

3. Register using your tablet or smart phone by visiting m.fema.gov.

For more information about SBA loan applications, visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance or call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing). Loan application forms can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

The date to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) in 35 counties affected by Hurricane Irene has been extended to Nov. 1.

The following counties now have until Nov.1 to file: Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Currituck, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyr­rell, Vance, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.

“Helping get North Carolinians back on their feet after this storm remains a priority,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “This extension will help many of those who have not been able to file in the original time frame allowed.”

Workers in those counties who became unemployed as a direct result of Hurricane Irene impacting North Carolina may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the DUA program. Business owners affected by the storm may also qualify for benefits.

Workers or business owners meeting the following criteria may be eligible for benefits:

• Individuals who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits

• Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster

• Individuals who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster

• Individuals who have become the major support of a household, because the head of household died as a direct result of the major disaster.

• Individuals who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster

• Individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented by the disaster

There is no “waiting” week period to file for benefits. Affected workers can receive benefits dated back to the week ending Sept. 3.

DUA is funded entirely by the Federal Government.

Individuals may contact the North Carolina Employment Security Commission by e-mail at [email protected], or by calling 1-866-795-8877 to apply for DUA benefits.

Individuals are encouraged to file as soon as possible.




 Comments are always welcomed!


     Subject :

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.