Recovery

Need Help After Florence? Here's How to Be Ready for a FEMA Inspection

FEMA recommends people protect themselves from scammers by asking the inspector, who will be a contractor, for his or her official FEMA photo ID badge.

by Isabella Cueto, The State (Columbia, S.C.) / October 2, 2018

(TNS) — Homeowners and renters who have applied for disaster relief money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Florence might be asked to show an inspector proof of storm damage. If you are one of these people, a FEMA inspector will reach out to you and schedule a visit to your property.

Before the date of inspection, be sure your home or mailbox number can be seen from the road.

Upon arrival, the inspector will ask for photo ID, insurance documents, a list of residents and proof of ownership or occupancy — a tax bill, rental agreement, mortgage payment receipt or utility bill will do. You will also need to communicate what damages your property sustained from the storm.

FEMA recommends you take steps to protect yourself from scammers by asking the inspector, who will be a contractor, for his or her official FEMA photo ID badge. The inspector should have your FEMA identification number and know other details about your claim. A FEMA inspector should not ever ask for your Social Security number or for your bank account information.

The inspection will likely take 20 to 40 minutes, according to a FEMA news release, though it may take longer.

After the inspection, you will either receive assistance funds via direct deposit or paper check in the mail, or you will be notified by mail that you are ineligible for assistance. If you are denied assistance, you have 60 days to appeal the decision and provide additional information, if needed. The steps on how to appeal a FEMA decision will be written out in the letter.

People and businesses in these South Carolina counties are eligible for financial assistance from FEMA: Chesterfield, Dillon, Georgetown, Horry, Marion and Marlboro.

To apply, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362. Those in need of TTY can call 800-462-7585.

South Carolina and FEMA will open three disaster recovery centers — in Chesterfield, Dillon and Horry counties — to help those affected by Florence register for aid and seek out resources. Specialists from the United States Small Business Administration will also be present to help business owners with recovery efforts.

The information you’ll need to provide to register for aid includes your Social Security number, annual household income, contact information, insurance information and bank account information. You should also prepare a description of damage and losses.

All centers are accessible to people with disabilities, equipped with assistive technology and will provide sign language interpreters upon request. The centers are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.

Sarah Ellis contributed to reporting.

Cueto can be reached at 803-771-8621, @isabellacueto

Where to go

Chesterfield County

Northeast Technical College, Building 200

1202 Chesterfield Highway, Cheraw, SC 29520

Dillon County

City of Dillon Wellness Center

1647 Commerce Drive, Dillon, SC 29536

Horry County

Horry Georgetown Technical College

2050 US 501, Conway, SC 29526

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