Deadlines approaching to apply for hurricane aid

Oct. 31—VALDOSTA — Multiple deadlines are approaching for people who suffered losses due to Hurricane Idalia, which hit South Georgia Aug. 30.

Disaster assistance

The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Lowndes County closed Tuesday. The center in Brooks County, 400 E. Courtland Ave. in Quitman, will close at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2. The center in Cook County, 206 E. Ninth St. in Adel, will close at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6. DRCs are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and are closed on Sundays.

Nov. 6 is the deadline to apply for Individual Assistance. Homeowners and renters who suffered uninsured or underinsured damage to their property from Hurricane Idalia in Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Glynn and Lowndes counties, can apply for Individual Assistance through any of the remaining Disaster Recovery Centers. If you are unable to apply in person, visit; call 800-621-3362 Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; or use the FEMA mobile app. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

This is what you will need when you apply:

* A current phone number where you can be contacted.

* Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying.

* Your Social Security number.

* A general list of damage and losses.

* Banking information if you choose direct deposit.

* If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name.

If you are unable to locate important documentation, FEMA will help you identify other ways to verify this information.

Survivors are encouraged to file insurance claims for damage to their homes, personal property and vehicles before they apply for FEMA assistance. FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

FEMA's Individual Assistance program is designed to help disaster survivors with basic, critical needs such as a safe, sanitary, and functional place to live while survivors look for a long-term or permanent housing solution. It is not designed to make survivors whole and is not a substitute for insurance coverage. FEMA IA cannot duplicate other sources of assistance.

FEMA provides funds paid directly to eligible individuals and households. Financial Housing Assistance may include rental assistance, lodging expenses reimbursement, home repair assistance, and replacement assistance.

Applying for help is free.

Unemployment insurance

Workers in Berrien and Brooks counties have until Friday, Nov. 3, to file initial claims for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits to compensate for income lost as a direct result of Hurricane Idalia.

DUA is a federal program established to help workers whose primary income is lost, or interrupted, as a direct result of a disaster declared by the president. It differs from regular state unemployment insurance in that it provides benefits to people who are self-employed business people, farmers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees, and others who are not eligible under the state's program.

Applicants may be eligible for a weekly benefit of as much as $365 beginning the week of Sept. 3, 2023. Individuals in the authorized counties who were directly affected by Hurricane Idalia must first apply for regular unemployment insurance on the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) website at or in person at any career center. The GDOL will notify claimants if they are also eligible to file for DUA. Eligible claimants must apply for these benefits no later than Nov. 3.

When applying for DUA benefits, verification of income may be required. Applicants should be prepared to provide proof of earnings for the most recently completed tax year. Acceptable proof of earnings includes copies of most recently completed income tax returns, copies of quarterly estimated income tax payment records, or similar documents.

FEMA offers repair advice

FEMA specialists will be available in Quitman, Adel and Valdosta to answer questions and offer home-improvement tips and proven methods to help prevent or reduce damage from future disasters. They will also share techniques for rebuilding hazard-resistant homes. Most information is aimed at do-it-yourselfers and general contractor work. There is no charge and reservations are not required.

The specialists will be available on these dates and at these locations:

Oct. 30 — Nov. 4: Stone's Home Centers, 1106 W. Screven St., Quitman; 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Nov. 6 — 9: Home Depot, 1825 Norman Drive, Valdosta; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Nov. 6 — 9 and Nov. 11: Adel Trading Co. Home Center, 313 W. Fifth St. in Adel; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The service won't be offered Friday, Nov. 10, due to the Veterans Day holiday.