FEMA deadline for hurricane victims is Dec. 5

November 27, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – People seeking federal assistance to aid in their recovery from Hurricane Florence have until Dec. 5 to apply.

The application for disaster assistance can be submitted online at disasterassistance.gov or at one of the disaster-recovery centers established by FEMA after Hurricane Florence. The nearest disaster-recovery center can be located by visiting drc.fema.gov.

“These disaster-recovery centers are open in order to facilitate the process,” FEMA spokesman Issa Mansaray said. “To make people walk in there so that you’ll be able to meet experts and the specialists that will take you through your application.”

The nearest disaster-recovery center to Florence is 2914 Spartan Place in the Marion County Industrial Park near Marion. The Darlington and Horry disaster-recovery centers closed Wednesday.

Mansaray recommends going to the disaster-recovery centers with proof of address like a bill, a government-issued ID, a current phone number and any change-of-address information. Homeowners also should take their mortgage documentation. Renters should take their rental contract. There also are various types of devices to help those affected by deafness or blindness at the disaster-recovery centers.

Representatives from the Internal Revenue Service and the Small Business Administration also are on site. The sites also have mitigation experts.

After the application, a FEMA specialist will investigate and determine whether and how much assistance is needed.

Mansaray added that such assistance from FEMA is tax-free and is not related to any other federal money an applicant receives. He said FEMA does not normally deny if a complete application is submitted.

Such assistance should begin to arrive within weeks of the FEMA investigation.

If someone wants additional assistance, FEMA trefers the person to the Small Business Administration for loans and to private charities.

Businesses and nonprofit organizations could be eligible for up to $2 million in loans. For businesses, those loans can have an interest rate as low as 3.675 percent. For nonprofits, the rates can be as low as 2.5 percent. Homeowners can get rates as low as 2 percent for up to $200,000. Renters who have personal properties can receive up to $40,000 at interest rates as low as 2 percent.

“The interest rates are very appealing,” SBA public affairs specialist Leroy Frazier said. “We are encouraging them if they are referred to apply by that deadline of Dec. 5.”

The SBA has a site on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College.

People can apply for those loans at disasterloans.sba.gov, at one of the disaster recovery centers or by phone at 1-800-659-2955.

Persons accepted for SBA loans have 30 days to accept their loans.

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