With rivers finally cresting, Hurricane Florence victims are now preparing for the Paper Hurricane to follow: insurance claims, FEMA claims, unemployment claims, spoiled grocery reimbursements, etc. However, the vast majority of credit card issuers will work with victims of a national disaster. Furthermore, other lenders including mortgage lenders, auto loans lenders, personal loans lenders, etc. may also work with you to extend loans.
The bottom line is: if you need some breathing room from your credit card(s), just ask and it will likely be given.
Call or write your credit card issuer(s) and request to have all minimum payments waived for three billing cycles, suspend interest charges, waive and/or refund any penalty fees, and most importantly they agree to continue reporting your account status in “current” standing with the national credit bureaus.
If your account is in good standing, credit card issuers will typically offer victims of nature disasters an increased credit limit (unless your account is past due or maxed out).
Regardless, make sure you document your phone call, notating the day, time, number called, who you spoke to and what was agreed. It is better to send a letter requesting a written confirmation outlining the temporary terms you are requesting or have been offered. To bolster your case include a copy of the FEMA claim letter showing your claim number.
These credit card suggestions are tried and true, attested to by Hurricane Irma victims last year.
While other lenders do not have the same flexibility of credit card issuers, due to the structured nature of their loans, you can still obtain a loan extension unless your account is past due. However, it pays to ask all your lenders for some consideration.
Now back to other elements of the Florence Paper Hurricane —-
Start with registering for disaster assistance with FEMA.
If you have a homeowner’s or flood insurance policy, file your insurance claim immediately before applying for disaster assistance. Get the process started quickly. The faster you file, the faster your recovery can begin.
If you cannot return to your home, or if you are unable to live in your home because of disaster damage, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, or call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY) (multilingual operators are available—press 2 for Spanish) to determine if state, voluntary, and local organizations are in your community to address your immediate needs.
If you can return to your home and it is safe, has working power, water, and sewer or septic service, visit DisasterAssistance.gov to determine if state, voluntary, and local organizations are in your community can address any unmet needs.
You will need the following to apply for assistance:
• Social Security Number;
• Daytime telephone number;
• Current mailing address and address and zip code of the damaged property; and
• Insurance information, if available.
After registering for disaster assistance, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In times of disasters, the SBA offers low-interest loans for businesses, homeowners and renters. The SBA will contact you with information on how to apply. There’s no obligation to accept a loan, but you may miss out on the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds if you don’t submit an application.
Information about low-interest SBA disaster loans and application forms are available online at SBA.gov/disaster. You may also call 800-659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. If you use TTY, call 800-877-8339.
If your job has been temporarily or permanently lost you may be entitled to Disaster Unemployment Assistance offering between $130 and $350 per week for up to 26 weeks in North Carolina.
USDA Provides Additional Food Options to SNAP Participants Impacted by Hurricane Florence
The Baker Botts Law Firm Has Released a Comprehensive PDF Guide to Other Hurricane Florence Related Benefits & Questions
The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available and open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Messages exist in both Spanish and English. To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative, please contact 1-800-REDCROSS OR 1-800-733-2767, choose option 1