Applying for federal disaster assistance, and what comes next

Applying for federal disaster assistance, and what comes next

(WMBF) - Residents impacted by the historic flooding in South Carolina earlier this month can apply for federal disaster assistance from FEMA.

To register, head to:, call 1-800-621-3362, or visit a nearby Disaster Recovery Center to apply in person. According to FEMA, you will need the following documents and materials when you apply:

  • Social Security number
  • Current and pre-disaster address
  • A telephone number where you can be contacted
  • Insurance information
  • Total household annual income
  • A routing and account number from your bank (only necessary if you want to have disaster assistance funds transferred directly into your bank account).
  • A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster

After you apply, you will receive a nine-digit application number, and an inspector will then call to schedule an appointment to visit your damaged property, generally no longer than 10 days after registration, according to FEMA. The inspector will have a construction background and is fully-qualified to do the job. They are private contractors who will be wearing official FEMA ID pages. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of the inspector, you should contact your local law enforcement, who can validate their identification.

FEMA states that you should keep your scheduled appointment to ensure the process moves quickly. The inspection will take about 10 to 20 minutes, and a household resident over 18 must be present.

"Inspectors will review both structural and personal property damage and file a report, but they do not determine eligibility or determine the value of damage or losses," the site states.

The inspector will also ask for identification and proof of ownership and occupancy for homeowners, or just occupancy for renters. FEMA recommends you have the following documents on hand:

  • A photo ID to prove identity, such as driver’s license or passport.
  • Proof of occupancy, such as a lease, rent payment receipt or utility bill.
  • Proof of ownership, such as a deed, title, mortgage payment book, property insurance policy or tax receipts.  

Within 10 days of the inspector's visit, you will receive a letter from FEMA containing a decision.  If you are eligible, you will then receive a check or electronic funds transfer. The letter will explain how the money can be used. You may also receive a low-interest loan application. "You do not have to accept a loan. However, you must complete the application and return it to SBA to remain eligible for other types of federal assistance, such as FEMA grants," FEMA states.

More details on the disaster relief process can be found here:

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