FEMA INDIVIDUAL AID
Six days out of Hurricane Matthew, South Carolinians are asking how they can receive individual aid from the federal government.
As of Thursday, North Carolina residents were able to apply for help through FEMA, but South Carolina is still in the process of assessing the damage from the storm. According to the FEMA website, individual aid can provide grants for temporary housing, rental assistance and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, like repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed personal property, and medical and dental expenses.
On Oct. 10, Governor Haley formally requested a disaster declaration from the White House for 13 counties in South Carolina. The declaration helped secure special resources like search and rescue teams and extra supplies, but it was just the first step in helping victims of Hurricane Matthew and the resulting flood.
On Oct. 11, a public assistance declaration was made to help the state and local governments with the cost of cleanup. Under the Public Assistance Program, state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the storm. Though this was an important step in rebuilding our local governments, these grants could not help private citizens.
At the moment, teams are working towards the next step to possibly secure individual aid for SC residents. According to FEMA Media Relations Specialist Renee Bafalis, six teams were out surveying the storm damage in Marion County Thursday. Bafalis says to secure individual assistance. assessment teams from the state, FEMA, and the Small Business Association are gathering data to be presented to the governors office. After the damage reports are presented, the governor must decide if it is within the state’s capacity to help, or if federal assistance is needed.
For the time being, teams are still out working on the preliminary damage assessments and no individual aid is available to SC residents.
The SC Department of Social Services says they are not operating Disaster SNAP at this time. Officials say if an individual does not have food or water in the next 24-48 hours and it is safe to travel from their location, they should visit their local food bank.
According to a statement from DSS communications director Karen Wingo, if an individual is a current SNAP recipient, the timing and amount of their monthly benefits was not affected by Hurricane Matthew. Current SNAP recipients may apply for a replacement of all or part of their benefits if they lost food as a result of Hurricane Matthew or power outages lasting more than four hours.
Clients must apply for a replacement in person at a county DSS office. Applicants should be prepared to provide some form of verification to substantiate that their homes were in the affected areas, and that they suffered a loss of food. Types of verification include:
- Newspaper Article
- Letter from the Red Cross or a Food Bank
- Website Printout Showing Outage or Loss (Examples: News website or power company notification of account outage)
- Letter from a Landlord
- Letter from an Insurance Company
- Letter from the Electric Company
If a constituent is not currently receiving SNAP benefits and needs assistance on an ongoing basis, he or she may apply for SNAP benefits online, in person, or by mail or fax.
For information on how to apply online or download an application to print out, visit the DSS website at ww.dss.sc.gov. To apply, an individual should visit their local county DSS office. If they live in an area affected by Hurricane Matthew, please check the EMD website or call the local DSS office before they visit to make sure it is open.
WHO TO CALL
For damage: 1-800-451-1954
For aid call United Way at 211