Homeowners, renters and business owners in Orangeburg and Marion counties will now be eligible to apply for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help them recover from Hurricane Matthew’s destruction.
Storm survivors in those counties, both located inland of the coast but both suffering significant damage, might be eligible for grants for temporary housing and home repairs and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.
Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also might be available to cover losses not fully paid for by insurance.
The announcement of funding for these counties comes a day after the state’s U.S. Congressional delegation issued a plea for federal funding for individual hurricane survivors.
Earlier this week, a disaster declaration by President Barack Obama made state and local agencies covering 13 counties eligible for FEMA disaster funding, but it did not apply to individuals seeking funding.
So far, Orangeburg and Marion are the only two of those 13 counties to be extended individual relief funding.
Storm survivors in those two counties are encouraged to register with FEMA as soon as possible. They can do so by:
▪ Going online to DisasterAssistance.gov
▪ Using the FEMA Mobile App
▪ Calling 800-621-3362 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. seven days a week. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY can call 800-462-7585.
Disaster survivor assistance specialists soon will be helping people register for assistance in person, which will especially benefit those who do not have access to telephone or internet service. Additionally, disaster recovery centers are planned to open in the near future in impacted counties.
Survivors should contact their insurance companies to file insurance claims. FEMA will not duplicate insurance payments. But people without insurance or those who are underinsured might still receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.
After the historic floods of 2015, FEMA provided more than $160 million in both public and individual assistance to South Carolinians, state officials have said.