Legal Help, Disaster Loans Available For Those Affected By Hurricane Matthew

North Carolina folks who were victimized by Hurricane Matthew now have a legal aid hotline.

The toll-free hotline (1-800-662-7407) allows callers to request a lawyer. Survivors who qualify for assistance will be matched with North Carolina lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help.

Callers should say they are seeking legal assistance from the hurricane, ask for Disaster Legal Services, and should say which county they're in. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for eligible applicants.

The service is a partnership between FEMA, NC Bar Association, Legal Aid of North Carolina, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Examples of legal assistance available include:

• Assistance with securing FEMA and other benefits available to disaster  survivors
• Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims
• Help with home repair contracts and contractors
• Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster
• Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures
• Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems
• Counseling on landlord/tenant problems

People who sustained property damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew are urged to register with FEMA, as they may be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance. People can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or Web-enabled device at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Hurricane survivors are also encouraged to call the FEMA hotline to report their damage. 

26 North Carolina counties have been approved to receive federal assistance. Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Jones, Johnston, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Terrell, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson all qualified (additional counties may be added later).

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