Federal Assistance Now Available for South Carolina Flood Victims

October 7, 2015 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

floods-1223171The good news is that Hurricane Joaquin missed the U.S. mainland. However, try telling that to the poor folks in many parts of South Carolina inundated by record rainfall from a weather system that drove record rainfall into the state. Major cities in the state such as Charleston and Columbia were hit hard as countless number of homes have been flooded.

The federal government now must to step up to help the people in this state. In response, the Obama administration’s disaster declaration for the state of South Carolina makes the following disaster aid programs available:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA))
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged homes safe, sanitary and functional. (FEMA)
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (FEMA)
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (FEMA)
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans are available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans are available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA))
  • Loans are available up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (SBA)
  • Loans are available up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency)

Other relief programs include crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster, income tax assistance for filing casualty losses, and advisory assistance for  veterans’ benefits and other social security matters.

Residents and business owners in South Carolina affected by the flood waters seeking assistance can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). FEMA notes that applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.

Natural disasters are heartbreaking for those affected, and federal assistance funding may not replace all that was lost. But it’s a start. At least until the next natural disaster hits (which we hope isn’t any time soon).

What other kinds of federal assistance do you think is needed to help the flood victims in South Carolina?



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