In the aftermath of a disaster, it is our goal to help individuals and families return to normal and to facilitate the recovery of communities. In coordination with local, State, and Federal partners, as well as non-governmental organizations and private industries, we work to ensure that all available resources for individuals and families are provided in a timely and efficient manner.
In small disasters that do not receive a Federal Disaster Declaration, we work with county officials and non-profit organizations to coordinate goods and services for affected individuals and families. In major disasters which receive a Federal Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance, we work in collaboration with our partners at all levels of government to coordinate response. Unlike the Public Assistance Program, there is not a set threshold that must be met for a Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance. The amount and severity of the damage, frequency of disasters in the area, economic impact, socioeconomic data of the area, and insurance coverage for the damaged structures are all taken into consideration when requesting a disaster declaration. Prior to receiving Federal financial assistance, any insurance benefits must be exhausted to avoid duplication of benefits.
Many agencies are able to assist those affected by disaster return to normal. They include:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - This is the Federal agency primarily tasked with assisting in disaster. Its main Individual Assistance Program is the Individual and Households Program (IHP). The Disaster Recovery Reform Act (2018) authorized two maximum award amounts for IHP. The maximum IHP award during the Federal fiscal year 2023 is $41,000 for Housing Assistance (HA) and $41,000 for Other Needs Assistance (ONA). The award amount is adjusted each year on October 1 to reflect the Consumer Price Index. This award is not dependent on the ability to repay a loan.
Housing Assistance: Those who are displaced from their primary residence and are uninsured or under-insured may be eligible for assistance. This assistance includes temporary housing, housing repair, housing replacement, and in rare instances permanent and semi-permanent housing.
Other Needs Assistance: This may be used for medical, dental, and funeral expenses caused by the disaster. Personal property, transportation, and moving and storage assistance may also be eligible after submitting a SBA loan application. This assistance is a cost share between FEMA and the State.
Disaster Legal Services: Low-income disaster survivors that have disaster-related legal needs including contractor issues, insurance claims, replacing legal documents, and landlord/tenant issues.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance: Unemployment and re-employment assistance is available to individuals who lost their business or job due to the disaster.
Crisis Counseling Assistance: A wide range of services are available to assist individuals and communities in recovering from disasters.
Small Business Administration (SBA) - In federally declared disasters, as well as in non-federally declared disasters that meet certain thresholds, the SBA can provide loans to individuals and businesses that have sustained disaster-related property or equipment damage, who have suffered a loss of income, or who need additional funding to cover operating expenses while working to reopen.
Home Physical Disaster Loans: Homeowners and renters may apply for this loan to repair or replace real estate and/or personal property damaged by a disaster.
Business Physical Disaster Loans: Businesses of any size may apply for this loan to repair or replace property owned by the business that was damaged by a disaster.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Working capital loans for small businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, and many non-profit organizations affected by disaster to meet their financial obligations. These loans assist through the disaster recovery period.
United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA FSA) - The USDA FSA provides assistance in the event of crop loss, livestock loss, or damage to farm property resulting from drought, flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other emergencies.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - After a disaster, the IRS is sometimes able to provide tax relief, adjustments, filing deadline extensions, and refunds to help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster.
Links and Information
- Survivors should file an insurance claim immediately. The faster they file, the faster their recovery can begin.
- The South Carolina Department of Insurance provides a home preparedness checklist and other emergency planning resources at doi.sc.gov/847/Hurricane-Preparedness.
- FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is allowing advance payments to policyholders on their flood insurance claims. When a policyholder contacts their insurer, the policyholder can receive an advance payment of up to $5,000 on a flood claim, without an adjuster visit or additional documentation.
- The NFIP Support Call Center provides customer service to survivors, policy holders, adjusters, agents and the general public regarding all areas of the NFIP, call 800-427-4661 or for direct policy info 800-638-6620.
- Survivors who are unable to live in their home because of disaster damage, can visit DisasterAssistance.gov, or call800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY)(multilingual operators are available; press 2 for Spanish). The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, seven days a week.
Repairs and Cleanup
- Disaster survivors can call the United Way Association of South Carolina at
800-451-1954 for free help with debris cleanup and removal from local relief agencies.
- The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs offers the “Recovering from a Disaster” guide available at www.consumer.sc.gov
- To find a professional licensed contractor, visit the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation at llr.sc.gov and click “LICENSEE LOOKUP.”
- Go to ready.gov/returning-home to learn what to do before entering a damaged home.
- Download FEMA fact sheets “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” and “Salvaging Water-Damaged Family Valuables and Heirlooms,” available at https://go.usa.gov/xPk5m.
- The “Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup after Disasters” is available on the CDC website atcdc.gov/mold/pdfs/homeowners_and_renters_guide.
- For dealing with debris and damaged buildings, disaster survivors may visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at go.usa.gov/xPk5v.
- A list of local disaster relief organizations can be found on the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website at scemd.org/recover/volunteer-and-donate. You can also find out how to volunteer and donate to relief efforts.
- Disaster survivors may contact the South Carolina Food Bank Association member food banks (Golden Harvest Food Bank, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Lowcountry Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank and Feeding America) for food, water, and other goods.
- The South Carolina Organizations Active in Disaster (SCVOAD) work through a network of reputable volunteer agencies to address the needs of disaster survivors. Survivors can learn more at volunteersc.org. or scemd.org.
- Food safety tips after a power outage and flooding are available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website or the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control website at: www.scdhec.gov/food-safety/food-safety-recovering-power-outages
- The Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours daily to provide counseling to anyone experiencing emotional distress related to a disaster. Call 800-985-5990 (800-846-8517 TTY) (multilingual operators are available; press 2 for Spanish), text "TalkWithUs" (for Spanish “Hablanos”) to 66746 or visit DisasterDistress.samhsa.gov.
- Information for helping children cope with disaster can be found at www.fema.gov/children-and-disasters.
Financial and Legal
- The Disaster Legal Services Program administered by S.C. Bar Association can be reached at 877-787-2227 ext. 120 or 803-576-3815 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or online at: https://www.scbar.org/bar-news/article/free-legal-assistance-available-south-carolina-hurricane-victims-2/.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) may become available through the South Carolina unemployment insurance benefits system. Visit the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce at dew.sc.gov and click MyBenefits Login in the top right corner to apply for unemployment insurance through the benefits system. For help, call 866-831-1724.
- The application period for DUA ends 30 days after the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce announced the availability of DUA in the eligible county.
- For those in counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance, the IRS deadline to file and pay taxes may be extended. For tax questions individuals can call 800-829-1040 (TTY/TDD 800-829-4059). For businesses related tax questions call 800-829-4933.
- The HOPE Coalition America has counselors available to provide financial recovery information. Call 888-388-4673.
- Report suspected scams to the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs by calling 844-835-5322 or visiting consumer.sc.gov and clicking “REPORT A SCAM.”
- Criminals can exploit disasters by sending fraudulent communications through social media and by creating phony websites designed to solicit contributions. Tips may be reported 24/7 to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721. Or, email email@example.com.
- If you have information about individuals who may have defrauded the government in connection with this disaster contact the FEMA waste, fraud and abuse hotline at 800-323-8603 (TTY 844-889-4357)