Disaster assistance deadline extended to Jan. 9

Published 7:01 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hurricane Matthew may be a distant memory for some by now, as it barreled up the East Coast in early October.

However, for many in eastern North Carolina, the destruction remains a staunch reality.

Earlier this month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced its decision to extend the application deadline for disaster relief by 31 days to Jan. 9, 2017.

“The state has requested more time for registration because a number of counties were added for Individual Assistance several weeks after the original Oct. 10 presidential disaster declaration,” a press release states.

The deadline extension applies to homeowners and renters, as well as businesses pursuing assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to the release. It applies to a total of 45 North Carolina counties, including Beaufort and Hyde.

Thirty-five counties were added after the Oct. 10 declaration, according to Nate Custer, FEMA media relations specialist.

FEMA’s website states that disaster recovery may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, repairing or replacing property and medical expenses.

As of Tuesday, there were 628 people registered for assistance from Beaufort County and 176 from Hyde County, Custer said.

Statewide, there are 75,476 registrants. A total of $447,414.78 in FEMA assistance has been approved for Beaufort County and $88,067.43 for Hyde County.

“On how long people might have to wait for assistance once the January 9th registration deadline passes, there is no way of estimating that. What we would prefer is that citizens not wait until near or on the deadline to register,” Custer wrote in an email.

He said that the grant-approval process is “an ongoing process.” A total of $79.6 million has been approved statewide as of Tuesday.

To register for assistance, there are three options:

  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service. If one is deaf, hard of hearing or has a speech disability and uses a TTY, call 800-462-7585.
  • Download the FEMA mobile app and apply.