As people across North Carolina work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Florence, many are turning to government assistance programs for help. Millions of dollars in grants and loans have been approved, but some applications are denied. We talked to John Mills from FEMA and Carl Dombek from the Small Business Administration (SBA) about some of the most common questions we're getting.
Who should apply for FEMA assistance?
If you have serious losses and you don't think your insurance is going to cover it or you don't have insurance, FEMA may be able to provide some assistance in the form of a grant.
Why do I have to file an insurance claim before I apply for FEMA help?
By law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments.
What types of assistance does FEMA provide?
Money from FEMA may be available for you to rent a place to live temporarily while you make repairs and figure out your next steps you may be able to get assistance to live somewhere else if your primary residence is uninhabitable because of Florence?
Will FEMA pay for everything I lost?
No. FEMA programs are not designed to make people whole, but you may be able to get some rental assistance to live somewhere temporarily and some money for basic home repairs that you would not have to repay.
What can I do if I don't qualify for FEMA assistance?
FEMA works with other organizations like the American Red Cross, local churches and nonprofits to connect people with other assistance they may be able to receive.
What help does the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide?
The help the SBA has is in the form of low-interest loans to help people recover and rebuild and get back to where they were before Hurricane Florence hit.
Who can get an SBA loan?
The SBA helps businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with the larger sums of money they need to rebuild their home, to replace their furniture and their clothing...the things that they had as part of their normal life.
What if I can't afford a loan?
If you're referred to SBA fill out and return that application even if you do not think you can afford a loan, because if they review the application and agree that a loan is not right for you, they may refer you back to FEMA to potentially get additional grant assistance.
Why am I not eligible for FEMA assistance?
There are many reasons for an initial ineligibility determination. The most common reason is the need to provide FEMA with a copy of a letter verifying your insurance coverage before FEMA can process your grant application.
Other reasons for ineligibility may include:
You did not sign the required documents.
You did not prove occupancy or ownership.
Your identity may not have been verified.
The damage is not to your primary residence, but to a secondary home or a rental property.
Another member of your household may have applied and received assistance.
Your disaster-related losses could not be verified.
The damage caused by the current disaster has not made your home unsafe to live in.
Your home is still safe, sanitary and functional.
You indicated on your application that you did not want to move while your damaged home was being repaired. This made you ineligible for FEMA initial rental assistance.
However, you have since found further damage to your home and you now have to move.
Get in touch with FEMA to provide more information or missing documentation by:
Calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585); or
Visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. To find the nearest center, visit fema.gov/DRC, call the FEMA Helpline, or download the FEMA app.