Nearly 5,800 Horry County residents impacted by Hurricane Matthew have signed up for federal assistance to cope with the destructive storm and resulting floods along the Waccamaw River and Intracoastal Waterway.
Horry County has the second highest number of residents in the state applying for FEMA aid. More than 6,500 residents in Beaufort County, where Matthew made landfall, have applied for the disaster assistance.
More South Carolinians are expected to apply for the FEMA individual assistance or SBA loans in the coming weeks, and with the Dec. 13 deadline quickly approaching, federal officials are urging residents to utilize their Thanksgiving weekend to file their applications.
“We are encouraging everyone sitting at home on Black Friday and watching football to pick up their laptop or phones to register,” said David Mace, media relations specialist for FEMA.
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“If you are waiting in line shopping, get out your phone and register. Or, if you need to see someone face-to-face, stop by the disaster center this weekend,” Mace said.
The Myrtle Beach disaster center at 9650 Scipio Lane will be closed on Thanksgiving and Friday, but will reopen on Saturday.
Residents can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.
FEMA assistance includes temporary housing, home repairs and replacing damaged property, repairs to cars, medical assistance and help paying for child care.
Flood victims can also apply for a one-time payment for the increased financial burden for up to eight cumulative weeks, plus related eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $3,600 in South Carolina.
Nearly 1,000 roads were damaged and hundreds closed in Horry County due to Hurricane Matthew, and early estimates showed that more than 700 houses were impacted by the flood waters.
The cleanup is continuing countywide with house repairs, tree removal and debris pickups.
With the holiday season in full swing, Mace said they are encouraging everyone to register before they get too busy.
If initial applications are rejected, Mace said those can be for simple reasons such as a transposed number in one’s Social Security number, or simple, missing information, and should be appealed.
For those who miss the deadline, waivers can be sought but only for certain hardship reasons.
“We certainly would not want anyone to miss the deadline, but if you do have an extenuating circumstance, for example if you are out of the country, incarcerated, or some other reason you could not meet the deadline,” Mace said.
Appeals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.