FEMA representatives answer your questions about aid


GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – Several of you have asked questions about receiving aid from FEMA. Some areas in North Carolina have been granted Individual Assistance, but those in South Carolina are still waiting. Here are the questions News 13 asked Thomas Schafer, a FEMA representative.

What is the first step? 

Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) Teams go into counties affected by Hurricane Matthew. Those teams are made up of representatives from FEMA and the State of South Carolina. “They assess for Individual Assistance. They check out private properties and businesses for damage assessment caused by the impacts of Hurricane Matthew,” said Schafer. He said public assistance teams are also on the ground checking out damage to public infrastructure.

What happens after FEMA teams complete their damage assessments?

“After they gather all their data, they put it together and send it up to Governor Haley and she looks at it and decides if it’s overwhelming for the state,” said Schafer. If she determines the state cannot handle the amount of damage, she will ask FEMA and President Obama to step in. They will determine if those in the county can get Individual Assistance.

Are there other options?

Schafer said the Small Business Administration also has teams in our area.

“It’s the same process, said Schafer. “If they get so many majors, that means houses destroyed or heavily damaged, you can be eligible for Small Business Administration loans.”

For more information on SBA loans, click here.

Can I apply now even though my county has not been declared for Individual Assistance? 

Schafer said you should not apply until your county has been federally declared for Individual Assistance. However, you can look at applications and find more information about FEMA here.

News 13 has not been given a timeline of when counties could potentially be declared for Individual Assistance. FEMA representatives have completed assessments in Georgetown and Darlington Counties and Horry County will be assessed next week.

Stick with News 13 to keep you updated.