LUMBERTON — Anyone who lost property or income to Hurricane Matthew who believes they have a claim to some reimbursement from FEMA has only Monday left to make that application.
The FEMA office at the old Kmart building off Roberts Avenue closed at 4 p.m. on Friday and will not open today because of the forecast of a winter storm.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency had established Jan. 9 as the deadline to file a claim related to the Oct. 8 storm and subsequent flooding. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day.
The deadline for the agency’s temporary house program ends today, with about 600 displaced Robeson County residents stil in hotels. Earlier this week FEMA said it would provide up to two 14-day extensions for those able to demontrate they are making progress toward permanent housing.
As of Monday 18,133 claims in Robeson County had been approved, resulting in payments of $22.7 million. For all of North Carolina, 78,204 successful claims had resulted in total awards of $86.5 million.
In his first week in his new job, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged all affected residents and businesses to register with FEMA before the end of Monday so they can seek federal and state help if needed.
“Families and small businesses are still working hard to recover from Hurricane Matthew and we don’t want anyone to miss out on getting the help they need,” said Gov. Cooper. “Even if you think your insurance will cover your losses, I encourage you to register with FEMA.”
Registering with FEMA is the first step in finding out if you may be eligible for federal financial assistance. Disaster survivors may be eligible for financial assistance from FEMA, but they must first submit applications for low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Representatives from FEMA have said since the beginning of the recovery effort that keeping an application moving forward is important, even if initial claims are rejected. If an application is not moving — through appeals or applications for SBA loans — it will be considered ended or rescinded by FEMA.
Applications for disaster assistance can be made online, via the FEMA app or by phone. Online FEMA applications can be made at DisasterAssistance.gov.
Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585.
Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated $2 billion damage statewide. No figure has been offered only for Robeson County, but more than 7,000 structures were damaged and more than 5,000 people flushed from their homes. The hardest hit areas were West Lumberton and South Lumberton, which are near the Lumber River, which rose to never-seen-before levels.