DISASTER ASSISTANCE FORUM
Last night I had the opportunity to take part in the Disaster Assistance Forum hosted by US
Senator Lindsey Graham’s office. This purpose of this forum was to make sure that flood victims
are aware of the resources available to them. Below is some valuable information regarding
assistance through FEMA as well as other federal and state agencies. Please feel free to share
this information with anyone you know that was affected by the recent flood.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
SC Department of Insurance
Small Business Administration (SBA)
SC Department of Employment and Workforce
SC Emergency Management Division
FEMA CONTACT INFORMATION:
FEMA currently has 1000 workers on the ground ready to assist those impacted by the recent
flooding. Their goal is to help people in need of assistance with the registration process. There
are 13 Disaster Recovery Centers throughout the state of SC. 46,000 people have already
registered and approximately $21,000,000 has already been given. FEMA has the ability to
grant up to $33,000 per homeowner based on the damages sustained. Everyone needs to
register as soon as possible even if you think you might have damage as a result of the flood.
Applications will only be accepted 60 days after the date of the declaration meaning that the
deadline to register is December 5, 2015. Should you receive a denial letter, contact FEMA at
1-800-621-3362 to determine the reason for the denial and what additional information may be
needed to obtain approval for assistance. If you have flood insurance you will likely receive a
denial due to FEMA not being able to duplicate coverage. Therefore you will need to contact
FEMA and find out what additional information they need to help fund damages that may not be
covered by your flood policy (Ex. Contents / additional living expenses, etc.).
SC DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE CONTACT INFORMATION:
The SC Department of Insurance Director Ray Farmer was present at the forum. He stated that
580 additional adjusters have been permitted to handle losses in SC to help speed up the
claims process. Insurance carriers have been notified by the Department to allow a 30 day
grace period on premium payments for those living in areas impacted by the recent floods. Only
one deductible will apply as this event will not be deemed a named storm. Should you have
additional questions, please contact the SC Department of Insurance.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CONTACT INFORMATION:
The Small Business Administration was on hand to offer information abut the different types of
disaster loans they have available. Those impacted by the storm may be eligible for home /
personal property, business physical damage, economic injury, and military reservists economic
injury loans. Homeowners can obtain up to $200,000 with interest rates as low as 1.38% and
terms up to 30 years. The initial loan repayment can even be delayed several months to help
homeowners get back on their feet. Up to $40,000 can be borrowed on contents and
automobiles. Renters are also eligible for these loans. Businesses can borrow up to $2,000,000
to help repair/replace the structure, fixtures, etc.. Economic Injury loans up to $2,000,000 can
be obtained with interest rates as low as 4%. This loan can help to provide working capital
during the disaster recovery process. There are no prepayment penalties on any of these loans.
You may also apply and obtain these loans before any insurance coverage determination or
payment is available. If your loss is covered you can then pay back the loan with no prepayment
penalty. People are encouraged to apply even if they are not sure they will need these additional
funds. There is no requirement to take the available loan should you find that it’s not needed.
Applicants should first apply with FEMA to obtain a registration number as that number will be
needed for the SBA disaster loan application. SBA staff is available at each of the 13 available
Disaster Recovery Centers.
SC DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND WORKFORCE CONTACT INFORMATION:
The SC Department of Employment and Workforce has assistance programs set up to help
people who have lost their job or income as a result of the recent flooding. Business owners
who lost income, self employed /1099 contractors may also be eligible for assistance. You must
file an unemployment claim with reason for loss being a disaster. Those claims will then be
flagged and handled accordingly. There will be no impact on next year tax rates for those who
file a claim. New tax deadlines may be given but with interest being applied. For additional
information, contact them at the questions number above.
SC EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION CONTACT INFORMATION:
The SC Emergency Management Division coordinates with all emergency responders
throughout the disaster recovery process. This division was activated On October 1, 2015 at
2am. All involved agencies in SC including FEMA coordinate at their facility. In SC there are
currently 197 roads closed, 84 bridges out and 217 people in shelters. Approximately 60,000
people have been affected by the flood. The SC Emergency Management Division has
established joint field offices with FEMA. 20 counties have been declared disaster areas. For
more information on what counties were declared disaster areas go to scemd.org. Links to other
agencies or also listed on their website.
US DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) CONTACT
There are several programs available through HUD to help disaster victims in need of
purchasing, refinancing or rebuilding as a result of a major disaster. Some of the programs
available or listed below.
To provide mortgage insurance for a person to purchase or refinance a principal residence. The
mortgage loan is funded by a lending institution, such as a mortgage company, bank, savings
and loan association and the mortgage is insured by HUD.
203(k) Rehab Mortgage Insurance
Section 203(k) insurance enables homebuyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase
(or refinancing) of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage or to
finance the rehabilitation of their existing home.
203(h) Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims
The Section 203(h) program allows the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure
mortgages made by qualified lenders to victims of a major disaster who have lost their homes
and are in the process of rebuilding or buying another home.
Please contact HUD by phone or go online to their website for more information about these
IRS NOTE: Those affected by the flooding can file an amendment on their 2014 tax return for
losses not covered by FEMA or flood insurance. Please let a tax professional assist with this