Hurricane Florence Resources
People returning home should exercise extreme caution as emergency crews respond to affected areas and avoid driving through flooded roadways.
- Only return to your home when authorities indicate it is safe. Watch out for debris and downed power lines and avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Flood waters may be electrically-charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
- You are also advised to photograph damaged property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim and do what is possible to prevent further damage to property (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
- Contact your insurance company and file a claim. Get your company’s contact information online at the Department of Insurance for the state where the damage occurred.
Major Disaster Declaration
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of North Carolina to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Florence. Residents residing in these counties are currently eligible for FEMA assistance and their applications can begin to be processed.
- New Hanover
Disaster Recovery Centers have opened across the state. The centers offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in the counties included in the North Carolina major disaster declaration for Hurricane Florence and the subsequent floods. Recovery specialists from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the state and other organizations will be at the centers to talk about assistance and to help anyone who needs guidance in filing an application.
Click here to find a Disaster Recovery Center.
How To Apply For Aid
- Apply online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Constituents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
- FEMA has an app for constituents to upload pictures in order to document damage, apply for assistance, learn about the process, locate nearby shelters and local assistance in addition to numerous links and documents to help with preparedness, emergency relief and clean up/removal.
Before you start your application, please have the information below and a pen and paper ready.
1. Social Security Number - You, another adult member or minor child in your household must have a Social Security number. You or they must also be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien. If you don't have a Social Security number, read the article How do I apply for a new or replacement Social Security number card. You will get instructions on what to do and what documents you will need. Once you have your number, you may come back to DisasterAssistance.gov or call FEMA at one of the phone numbers above to apply.
2. Insurance Information - Describe the type(s) of insurance coverage you have. This could include coverage under policies like homeowners, flood, automobile, or mobile home insurance.3. Damage Information - Describe the damage caused by the disaster. Include the type of disaster (like flood, hurricane, or earthquake) and the type of dwelling or vehicle (like a condo, mobile home or house, or a car or truck).
4. Financial Information - Provide your total annual household income, before taxes, at the time of the disaster.
5. Contact Information - Provide the address and phone number of the property where the damage occurred and the address and phone number of where we can reach you now.
6. Direct Deposit Information (optional) - If approved, we can deposit your funds directly into your bank account. You just need to provide the following banking information:
- Bank name
- Type of account (like checking or savings)
- Routing number
- Account number
What to Expect After Registering for Disaster AssistanceAfter registering for disaster assistance, you may be contacted by a FEMA-contracted housing inspector to schedule an appointment for a housing inspection.
Your first contact with a housing inspector may be by text or phone call and may come from an area code different than yours. The inspection is needed to verify and assess damage indicated when you registered. The inspection generally takes about 20-40 minutes but may take longer. The inspector will want to see the damaged areas of your home, as well as damaged furniture and personal property. There is no fee for the inspection.
When a housing inspector comes to visit your home, ask to see a FEMA photo ID badge. If you are not shown photo identification, then do not allow the inspection. Disasters often bring out scam artists who prey on the needs of disaster survivors.
All FEMA-contracted housing inspectors will be able to identify you by the unique nine-digit number you were assigned when you applied for assistance. FEMA inspectors will never ask for this information. They already have it in their records. If you are unsure if the inspector is with FEMA, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) to confirm.
Someone 18 years of age or older must be present during the inspection. The inspector will also ask to see:
- Photo identification;
- Proof of ownership/occupancy of damaged residence (structural insurance, tax bill, mortgage payment book/utility bill);
- Insurance documents: home and/or auto (structural insurance/auto declaration sheet);
- List of household occupants living in the residence at time of disaster; and
- All disaster-related damage to both real and personal property.
Once the inspection process is complete, your case will be reviewed by FEMA and you will receive a letter outlining the decision about your claim. Inspectors do not make eligibility determinations for assistance.
Read all communications from FEMA carefully. If you are eligible for disaster assistance, FEMA will send you a check by mail or deposit it directly into your bank account. If you receive money for rental assistance, be sure to keep documentation and receipts of payments. If you pay to stay somewhere, you should have a written landlord/tenant agreement for the time frame you use the assistance.
If you are not eligible for federal disaster assistance, you will receive a letter from FEMA explaining why you may not be eligible for this form of disaster assistance. You will be given a chance to appeal the decision. Appeals must be in writing and mailed within 60 days of FEMA’s decision. Many times, your letter will say you’re ineligible because FEMA needs additional information from you, like proof of an insurance settlement.
Although FEMA assistance cannot make you whole, it may help your recovery move forward by providing grants for basic repairs to make your home safe, sanitary and secure. FEMA assistance may also provide temporary help with a place for you and your family to stay while you build your recovery plan.
File a Flood Insurance Claim
- Visit https://www.fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim to begin your claim or if you have questions.
- Call 1-800-427-4661 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT and select option two. Call center staff is available to assist with information regarding your policy, offer technical flood guidance to aid in recovery and answer other flood insurance questions. You can be transferred to your insurance carrier for additional assistance if you have further questions.
- Concerns with policy lapse – FEMA wants to assure its National Flood Insurance Program policyholders affected by flooding that if your policy is up for renewal and you have not yet paid, you have 30 days from the date your policy expires in which to pay your premium. Paying your premium by this deadline will ensure that you do not experience a lapse in coverage.
Starting the claims process
- After experiencing a flood, contact your agent or insurance company to start your claim and consider requesting an advance payment so you can start recovering as soon as possible.
- If you have a policy written directly with the NFIP (your Declaration Page has the FEMA logo in the top corner), it's fast and easy to report your claim directly to the NFIP's Direct Servicing Agent. When you click on the link you'll see a log-in screen. You may need to scroll down the page in order to find the information you need. Find your insurer on this list of insurance companies administering NFIP flood insurance and report your claim.
- Be sure you have the following information handy when speaking to your agent or insurance company:
- Policy Declarations page (official document detailing your flood insurance coverage), if available
- How you can be reached: Telephone phone number or alternate contact number; email address
- The insured property location
- The name of any mortgage company(s)
- An adjuster should contact you within a few days of starting your claim. If you do not hear from an adjuster, you can contact your insurance agent or company again.
- When your claims adjuster arrives for inspection, they should show you their official identification (Driver’s License and Company ID or Flood Control Number [FCN card]). They should also provide you with their contact information, such as their name, email, phone number, and the name of their adjusting firm, and their telephone number. When meeting with you, your adjuster should cover the following:
- An explanation of the NFIP Flood Claims Process.
- An inspection of your property—during which he/she will scope your loss by taking measurements and photos.
- An explanation of what an advance payment is and how or if you can get one.
- Information about how you should present your loss to your insurance company and a discussion about your policy coverage.
At the end of your inspection, your adjuster should provide you with information about what you need to do and what will happen next.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest loans for business damages. Learn more about the business loan application process at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
- The following counties are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA: Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender counties.
- The following counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Pitt, Sampson and Washington counties.
- Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA's secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov. Additional details on the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers with crops insured under the Federal crop insurance program to immediately contact their local crop insurance agent to report any damage to insured crops after the storm.
- Agriculture Weather Emergency Hotline to contact NC Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services: 1-866-645-9403.
- Farmers can also consult USDA’s Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool to see what assistance programs they may be eligible for: https://www.farmers.gov/recover/disaster-assistance-tool#step-1
- Check with your local FSA office. For a list of NC offices visit: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=nc&agency=fsa
Unemployment Disaster Assistance
The NC Division of Employment Security (DES) announced that the following counties have been approved for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) due to the effects of Hurricane Florence: Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne. Individuals from these counties who are affected by the disaster, and are unable to continue working, must file an application for benefits within 30 days from today – or, by October 18, 2018. Additional counties may be added at a later date.
Workers or business owners meeting the following criteria may be eligible for benefits:
- Individuals who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
- Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster.
- Individuals who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
- Individuals who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster-related death of the previous major supplier of household income.
- Individuals who are unable to reach their jobs or self-employment locations, because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
- Individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment, but were prevented from doing so by the disaster.
Individuals need to file first for regular unemployment insurance. If an individual is determined ineligible for regular unemployment insurance, or has exhausted their regular unemployment insurance benefits, a DUA claim can then be filed. Individuals filing will need the following documents to support their application:
- Social Security number
- Copies of their most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs, or documentation to support they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred.
All required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed.
To file an unemployment insurance claim, please click here or call 1-866-795-8877.
- On September 15, 2018 IRS extended deadlines that apply to filing returns, paying taxes, and performing certain other time-sensitive acts for certain taxpayers affected by Hurricane Florence in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender in North Carolina. The extension applies to deadlines - either an original or extended due date - that occurred on or after Sept. 7, 2018 and before Jan. 31, 2019.
- IRS has a special toll-free number (866-562-5227) for taxpayers with questions in federally-declared disaster areas.
- IRS can assist with reconstructing records. Use Get Transcript tool, Form 4506-T and Form 4506
What do I do if my home is damaged?
- If your home/primary residence has been damaged and you reside in a county under a presidential disaster declaration, you are eligible for FEMA housing assistance. FEMA provides housing assistance to individuals and families who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially-declared disaster. By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company, but you may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance. If your home was affected by a major disaster, we recommend that you apply for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov, or call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY) (multilingual operators are available—press 2 for Spanish).
How do I apply for FEMA assistance?
- Contact your private insurance and start documenting the damage. You are advised to photograph damaged property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim and do what is possible to prevent further damage to property (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm
- Start your FEMA application even if your county has not been federally declared for Individual Assistance (IA). This will help speed up the process if counties are added to a declaration. Your application will be processed if your county is added to a declaration and FEMA determines you are eligible. To apply please visit at www.disasterassistance.gov. Constituents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
Why isn't my county included in the disaster declaration?
- The state is still in rescue and human response mode and the initials designations were to get FEMA on the ground in a greater way than previously allowed. As flood levels dissipate and emergency management is able to assess the damage, the state is working with its FEMA partner on designations. These conditions don’t allow for damaged assessments but as we move into recovery mode state and federal officials will be assessing the damage and more counties are likely to be designated.
- You can still go to www.disasterassistance.gov and apply for assistance. This will help speed up the process if counties are added to a declaration. Your application will be processed if your county is added to a declaration and FEMA determines you are eligible There is a place on the website where you can put your address in and it will tell you if your county is eligible for Individual Assistance.