Services offered to storm victims

Published 12:14 am Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crisis-counseling services are available to people affected by Hurricane Irene. Counseling for all ages may be arranged by calling 1-866-451-7760 between 8 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week.

Callers are referred to a specially trained counselor in their county to get help with stress and changes in behavior caused by the storm. Referral services and short-term intervention counseling are confidential.

In the following counties, help is provided by N.C. on the Road to Resilience: Brunswick, Duplin, Halifax, Lenoir, New Hanover, Pender, Vance, Warren and Wayne.

In Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington and Wilson counties, help is provided by local mental-health organizations.

Disaster unemployment assistance and legal services are available to those affected by Hurricane Irene. Here is an overview of the programs:

Disaster unemployment: Benefits are available to individuals who lost work in the disaster counties listed below. Those who may apply include self-employed persons, farm and ranch owners and others not usually covered under regular unemployment insurance programs. Call 1-866-795-8877 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Legal assistance: Those who can’t afford an attorney and who run into a legal snag because of the hurricane in a county listed below may call 1-800-662-7407 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ask for disaster legal services and a volunteer attorney will call back in 48 to 72 hours.

Unemployment help: The N.C. Employment Security Commission can provide unemployment benefits dating back to Sept. 3. Workers and business owners who meet the following criteria may be eligible:

  • Individuals who are unemployed because of the disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Self-employed individuals and small-business owners who lost income because of the disaster.
  • Individuals who were prevented from working because of an injury caused by the disaster.
  • Individuals who are unable to get to work because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
  • Individuals who were to begin work, but were prevented by the disaster.
  • Individuals who became the major supplier of income for a household because of the death or injury of the previous major wage earner.

Learn more about disaster unemployment assistance and apply for benefits by calling NCESC.   The deadline to apply varies by county:

  • Sept. 30 — Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrrell counties.
  • Oct. 3 — Halifax and Lenoir counties.
  • Oct. 5 — Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Hertford, Johnston, Jones, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Vance, Warren, Washington and Wilson counties
  • Oct. 11 — Pender and Wayne counties

Disaster-related legal assistance is offered by the North Carolina Bar Association. The Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association is providing volunteer attorneys to help with legal complications that arise from the hurricane. Examples include:

  • Advice regarding landlord/tenant issues.
  • Replacement of lost legal documents.
  • Advice about contracts disrupted by the hurricane.
  • Help with insurance disputes and other legal complications caused by the disaster.

Other help is being offered in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

To learn about other disaster assistance programs, visit a disaster recovery center or call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.  Find disaster recovery centers through the Hurricane Irene tab at or the FEMA locator at

The following counties have been declared disaster areas: Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.