Relief money available for 18 NC counties, applications now open

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- After Gov. Roy Cooper urged the president to issue an official disaster declaration, he was more than ready to oblige.

On Wednesday, Cooper was joined by all 15 members of NC's congressional delegation, who also asked Trump to issue an official disaster for Florence.

According to ABC11's news gathering partner, the N&O, Cooper was persistent in getting Washington to aid the state as soon as possible.

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"We know this massive storm will cause incredible damage, and I'm asking Washington to act quickly so federal recovery help can come as soon as possible," Cooper said.

RELATED: Florence by the numbers: Trump says 'a lot of money' is coming to NC

Below is a list of the various ways you can be compensated for Hurricane Florence damage:

State aid

The North Carolina government can help fix any damages to your home. Click here for more information.

If you'd like to apply, be sure to have the following:

  • A photo ID and proof of either citizenship or legal residency (like a U.S. passport or green card)

  • Proof that you lived in the damaged home (like a utility bill from the same month the storm hit)

  • Copies of tax returns or pay stubs for all the adults who live in the home

  • Copies of any payments from insurance companies or other government agencies for damage to the home

Filing home insurance claims

Now that Florence has passed, insurance agents are on the roam and assisting homeowners with filing their property insurance claims.

The NC Department of Insurance is assisting in processing claims. The department is also warning residents to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to prey on Florence victims. These steps should be taken to protect yourself against shady contractors:

  • Get all estimates in writing, including schedules and materials

  • Be wary of sales reps who go door to door to solicit business

  • Don't sign blank contracts and don't pay a contractor in full until the work is completed

  • Be sure the contractor is insured and licensed

FEMA aid

People applying for FEMA must be able to provide the following:

  • Your Social Security number, or the social security number of a child living at the house

  • Annual household income

  • Bank account information

  • Contact information, insurance information and bank account information

Other than aid from FEMA, homeowners, renters, and business owners can also apply for low-interest home repair loans from the federal government's Small Business Administration in the wake of a natural disaster.

More information about those loans and how to apply can be found here.

Job loss aid

If you lose your job after a natural disaster, there's another federal agency that can help.

The US Department of Labor has money for grants to retrain people for new careers or to help them go back to school.

To find a local state-run career center, click here.

People who lost their job due to Florence and who live in one of the 18 disaster counties might be eligible for unemployment benefits even if they normally wouldn't qualify or if they have already used up their regular unemployment benefits.

The 18 official disaster counties are Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 18. To learn more or to apply, people can call the North Carolina Division of Employment Security at 1-866-795-8877, email or go their website.

Small business aid

If you own your own business, you may also be eligible for low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration.

To learn more or apply, you can click here.

The state and federal governments are also extending some tax filing deadlines -- which had passed on Sept. 7 -- until Jan. 31, 2019 for certain people and small businesses.

If you'd like to learn more about whether that applies to you, you can click here.
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