For updated emergency information regarding the flood, FEMA assistance, water distribution centers, and other information please visit the South Carolina Emergency Management Division Website at http://www.scemd.org or call at 803-737-8500.
South Carolina ABLE wants you to know your rights during an emergency
- You have a right to take your service dog and assistive technology you need to an emergency shelter.
- If you have a personal care aide, you should not be prevented from accessing a shelter. If your aide is unable to come with you, the shelter staff may have some obligations to assist you in your daily living activities, as long as doing so does not create an undue financial or administrative burden.
- You have a right to not be segregated from your family members or other community members without disabilities.
- You have a right to effective communication by shelter employees. Show Me: A Communication Tool for Emergency Shelters was created to address communication barriers during emergency situations and may be a good solution for staff members assisting you to determine your needs. There is also a mobile app called Show Me for Emergencies that can be downloaded to your phone.
If you need assistance with advocating for your rights, or if you need assistive technology such as manual wheelchairs, canes, transfer benches, etc., please do not hesitate to contact us using the information below:
Disaster Relief Centers
Click Here for a List of Disaster Relief Centers
(Updated November 4, 2015)
Apply Right Away– FEMA has a 60 day deadline for disaster applications. Only one person from your household needs to apply. Call FEMA at 800-621-3362.
- If you have a speech disability or hearing loss you can call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 800-621-3362.
- You do not have to be a U.S. Citizen to get FEMA. Qualified aliens are also eligible to apply. If you are an immigrant and have not yet become a US citizen, you will qualify if you are a permanent resident with a green card, a refugee, an asylee, a parolee for at least 1 year, a Cuban/Haitian entrant, a person whose deportation has been withheld, or are here under VOWA (violence against women act) or a T-visa (human trafficking visa). If you qualify you can apply on behalf of your family even if not all of them qualify.
- Receiving Individual Household Program (IHP) benefits will not affect your eligibility for SSI, TANF, Medicaid, or Food Stamps. If you owe money IHP benefited cannot be taken by your creditor.
FEMA- Disaster Housing Assistance (DHA)
To receive Disaster Housing assistance
- Your losses must have occurred in an area declared a disaster by the President.
- Your primary residence has been made unlivable by the disaster.
- If you have insurance, you have filed for insurance benefits and the damage to your property is not covered by your insurance or the settlement is insufficient to meet your losses. If you later get insurance benefits you must agree to repay FEMA.
What Kind of assistance does this include:
- Usually a check to cover a 3-month period of rent.
- If you own your home and insurance does not cover the damage, it covers the cost of repairs when not more than $5,400.
To find out more call FEMA at 800-621-3362. If you have a speech disability or hearing loss you can call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 800-621-3362.
If flooding in South Carolina impacted you, Disaster Assistance may be able to help you with flood related costs.
- Apply for aid at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. If you use a TTY, call 800-462-7585.
- More details at: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4241/notices/
- The Federal Disaster Assistance website is open for early registration for folks from South Carolina at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/
The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) has announced counties eligible to receive Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) Assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
As of October 20, 2015 the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, has approved the following counties for the DSNAP as a result of the October 2015 flooding: Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, and Williamsburg.
Any household that resided within one of the designated counties at the time of the flooding AND suffered unreimbursed disaster losses may be eligible to receive temporary DSNAP assistance. DSNAP benefits are provided via an electronic debit-like card and can be used to purchase food items at grocery stores and other authorized retailers.
Residents in any of the designated counties who meet the DSNAP income guidelines may be eligible if the household experienced at least one of the following conditions as a direct result of the October 5thstorms:
- Damage to or destruction of the home.
- Loss or inaccessibility of income including a reduction or termination of income or a significant delay in receiving income due to disaster related problems.
- Disaster-related expenses (home or business repairs, temporary shelter, evacuation, etc.) that are not expected to be reimbursed during the disaster benefit period.
Applicants must have suffered a loss related to the flooding to be eligible for the DSNAP benefits. Households applying for Disaster SNAP must actually have lived in the disaster area at the time of the storms and must have suffered loss or damages. Applicants should be prepared to provide the following:
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Address
- Proof of Income
- Proof of the value of unreimbursed damages incurred as a direct result of the storm
- Proof of loss or inaccessibility of income
All applications are subject to review. If it is determined that an applicant received benefits that he/she was not entitled to, the applicant will be required to pay them back.
Current SNAP recipients in the following counties DO NOT need to come to a local county office to receive DSNAP benefits; they will automatically receive a supplement on their EBT cards: Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Richland, and Sumter.
Current SNAP recipients in the zip codes below DO NOT need to come to a local county office to receive DSNAP benefits; they will automatically receive a supplement on their EBT cards:
- Clarendon – 29102, 29125, 29148, 29111
- Colleton – 29488, 29945, 29446
- Darlington – 29069, 29532
- Dorchester – 29456, 29420, 29472, 29483, 29485
- Florence – 29560, 29501, 29506, 29541
- Georgetown – 29440, 29510, 29554, 29585
- Newberry – 29075, 29126, 29127
- Orangeburg – 29018, 29039, 29047, 29048, 29059, 29112, 29113, 29115, 29118, 29142, 29163
- Williamsburg – 29056, 29510, 29556, 29560, 29564, 29590
Current SNAP recipients in Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Williamsburg counties who DO NOT live within the zip codes listed above AND who suffered a disaster loss may go to the designated site in their county of residence and file an Affidavit of Loss to request a supplement of their October SNAP benefits.
Current SNAP recipients in Bamberg and Greenwood counties who suffered a disaster loss may go to the designated site in their county of residence and file an Affidavit of Loss to request a supplement of their October SNAP benefits.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Have you lost income because you cannot work due to the flood? You may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Benefits.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) will be made available to assist people who became unemployed as a direct result of last weekend’s storm and ensuing floods. Currently you have four weeks from the date your county was declared a disaster.
- The counties included in the DUA program are are Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Greenwood, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg. Other counties may be added at a later date. South Carolina workers may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the DUA program.
- Workers or business owners meeting the following criteria may be eligible for benefits:
- Individuals who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
- Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster.
- Individuals who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
- Individuals who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster related death or injury of the previous major supplier of household income.
- Individuals who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
- Individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented by the disaster.
- There is not a waiting week period to file for benefits.
- You can only receive DUA for 6 months after the disaster.
- Immigrants are eligible for DUA if they have valid work papers and are a U.S. Citizen, lawful permanent resident (green card holder), refugee, asylee, Cuban/Haitian entrant, parolee for more than one year, conditional entrant, or are here under VOWA (violence against women act) or a T-visa (human trafficking visa), or you have been granted withhold of deportation
- A dedicated telephone line will be set up to assist people with applying. Please check www.dew.sc.gov for updates on this program. The deadline for applying is 30 days from the date DEW starts taking claims.
Please visit the South Carolina Department of Insurance website, www.doi.sc.gov, for additional post-disaster insurance information or call the Department’s Office of Consumer Services at 1-800-768-768-3467 or 803-737-6180 Monday through Thursday (8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) and Fridays (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) website is a great resource for finding rebuilding resources after a natural disaster. The website provides information on:
- How to remove mold from your home
- How to rebuild smarter and safer
- How to find a contractor
The SCEMD rebuilding resource website can be found at http://scemd.org/recovery-section/rebuilding-resources.
If your apartment has been damaged by the floodwaters, talk to your landlord to see if the rent can be reduced until the apartment is repaired, or see if the landlord will allow you to move to another unit in the building that is livable.
- If the apartment is damaged, you do not have the right to reduce rent, but under South Carolina law you can put your landlord on written notice of all needed repairs and start a 14-day timeline for them to begin fixing the damages.
- If your property was damaged and you do not have renter’s insurance, see if your landlord had insurance to cover your belongings.
- If your losses are not covered by any insurance policy, you may be able to get Individual and Household Program (IHP) money from FEMA to replace necessary items of personal property such as clothing, household items, furnishings, and appliances.
- You may apply for these benefits through FEMA at 800- 621-3362.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) warns that when natural disasters bring destruction, con artists follow closely behind. Scammers prey on individuals who are emotionally vulnerable and overwhelmed. They lure consumers with deals to repair the damage that are often too good to be true. Consumers should follow these tips when seeking help with home repairs in the wake of the flood:
- Beware of contractors who just show up at the door. They’ll offer you a great deal because they’re “in the neighborhood” and have materials left over from a previous job. Reputable contractors don’t work that way. Get all promises in writing. If it isn’t written down, it doesn’t count. Verbal promises are worthless because if there’s a dispute, you have nothing to back up your claim.
- Do not be pressured into buying. Good businesses don’t need to rush you into a decision. The high-pressure buy now approach is designed to keep you from comparison-shopping. Don’t fall for it and get at least two bids for the work. Require a contractor’s license and proper identification.
- Make sure they have the appropriate licenses from the state and county/city. Check their id and get the car/ truck license tag number.
- Never pay in full up front. Make sure the contract has a payment schedule. Don’t let payments get ahead of the work.
- Visit SCDCA’s website to file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-922-1594.
South Carolina Bar: Legal Resources
A toll-free legal aid hotline is now available to victims of South Carolina’s recently declared flood disaster counties.
- If unable to afford a lawyer, call 1-877-797-2227 ext. 120 (Toll-Free) or (803)576-3815 (Local) between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, to request assistance.
- Also, request assistance online by emailing DisasterInfo@SCBar.org .
Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms and Flooding in South Carolina
Victims of the severe storms and flooding that took place beginning on October 1, 2015 in parts of South Carolina may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.
Following the recent disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced today that affected taxpayers in South Carolina will receive tax relief.
The President has declared Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg counties a federal disaster area. Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief.
The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Oct. 1, and on or before February 16, 2016 have been postponed to February 16, 2016. This includes the Oct. 15 deadline for those who received an extension to file their 2014 return.
In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Oct. 1, as long as the deposits were made by Oct. 16, 2015.
If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period.
The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.
Covered Disaster Area
The counties listed above constitute a covered disaster area for purposes of Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(2) and are entitled to the relief detailed below.
Taxpayers considered to be affected taxpayers eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts are those taxpayers listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(1), and include individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c) are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area and any individual visiting the covered disaster area that was killed or injured as a result of the disaster are entitled to relief.
Grant of Relief
Under section 7508A, the IRS gives affected taxpayers until Feb. 16, 2016 to file most tax returns (including individual, corporate, and estate and trust income tax returns; partnership returns, S corporation returns, and trust returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; and employment and certain excise tax returns), or to make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or extended due date occurring on or after Oct. 1 and on or before Feb. 16, 2016.
The IRS also gives affected taxpayers until Feb. 16, 2016 to perform other time-sensitive actions described in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2007-56, 2007-34 I.R.B. 388 (Aug. 20, 2007), that are due to be performed on or after Oct. 1 and on or before Feb. 16, 2016.
This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns, in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56. The relief described in section 17 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56, pertaining to like-kind exchanges of property, also applies to certain taxpayers who are not otherwise affected taxpayers and may include acts required to be performed before or after the period above.
The postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1098, 1099 series, or to Forms 1042-S or 8027. Penalties for failure to timely file information returns can be waived under existing procedures for reasonable cause. Likewise, the postponement does not apply to employment and excise tax deposits. The IRS, however, will abate penalties for failure to make timely employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Oct. 1, and on or before Oct. 16 provided the taxpayer made these deposits by Oct. 16, 2015.
Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either this year or last year. Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will get the taxpayer an earlier refund, but waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return could result in a greater tax saving, depending on other income factors.
Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on last year’s return should put the Disaster Designation “South Carolina, Severe Storms and Flooding” at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund.
The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers. Taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation “Severe Storms and Flooding in South Carolina” in red ink at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as appropriate, and submit it to the IRS.
Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case.
Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS website, irs.gov, or order them by calling 800-829-3676. The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 800-829-1040.
Assistance for Spanish Speakers