I-Team: Getting FEMA help after a denial

SUMMERVILLE, SC – Aileen Bergeson is facing a personal disaster zone.  Water started pouring into her Summerville home Saturday morning. She evacuated Saturday night, and she returned home to a mess.

“When you walk in the door,” she said, “mold and the mildew hit you in the face.”

Members from her church helped rip out floors and throw away her ruined furniture.

“I started to feel hopeful,” she said.  “When I got the letter, I was devastated.”

Bergeson applied for FEMA help, but she says she was denied within 12 hours.

Aileen is one of 37,052 flood victims who registered for FEMA assistance.  FEMA already approved more than 13 million dollars in assistance, anyone who is uninsured or under-insured can get help. There are no income restrictions.

We called the State’s Emergency Management Division to see why people like Aileen aren’t getting help.

Spokesman Derrec Becker told News 2, a denial isn’t necessarily a denial.

Becker says some people are being denied because of something as simple as a missing signature.  He recommends homeowners follow up with FEMA on their hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA.  He says when you talk to a real person, try to share your story. He also recommends homeowners attend a Claim Center event

Other useful items to share with an adjuster:

  • a quote from a contractor
  • a denial letter from your insurance
  • pictures, videos, and samples of your damage

An application checklist can be found here: http://www.disasterassistance.gov/get-assistance/application-checklist

State Department of Insurance: http://www.doi.sc.gov/858/October-Flood-2015

Catastrophe Claims Center in North Charleston is for  consumers with insurance questions and claims resulting from the torrential rain and flood event over the past several days.
WHEN: Wednesday, October 14, 2015: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: North Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center

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