As most of the Nation now knows, the Carolina’s were hit with a massive tropical storm that dumped more water on us than it did wind damage.  We started out on the wrong foot when they evacuated us a ridiculous week before the hurricane was even close to the coast.  I mean, it was sunny down here and the streets had tumbleweeds on them.   They were predicting a Category 4 Hurricane as Florence approached the coastline and I could understand voluntary evacuations within the first few days but we went from, “Oh look, there’s Hurricane that looks like it could be on track to hit us.” to, “This Is Not A Test Of The Emergency Broadcast System…Get Out Now!”.  They straight rolled up the streets on a Diva. EVERYTHING CLOSED.  Every. Thing.

 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s a 24 hour Wal Mart just down the street from the beach. And was closed in the middle of the day 5 days before the storm hit. Some argue that the employees needed time to get their affairs together and evacuate, but for most of us that live here in Myrtle Beach, we needed those hours at work to pay these ridiculous housing costs to live here.

But like I said before, everything closed.  Restaurants, drug stores, gas stations, government offices, child care centers, and schools still have yet to reopen.  The streets were starting to look a bit apocalyptic…

Living here in Myrtle Beach, that was weird.  And scary.  So many people kept comparing the storm to Hugo, but honestly, she didn’t live up to the initial damage.  However, her effect is still wreaking havoc weeks after her 3-day vacation over two of the original 13 colonies.

But we’ll get to that in a moment because I’ve got some much-needed information to share with my fellow MB residents concerning FEMA and filing for assistance after all those days of missed work and even more to come with businesses still being shut down due to flooding.  But first, let’s talk about Myrtle Beach looking like a ghost town in the middle of September and how that is sure to affect many of our main sources of income.  This month is usually our last blast for good income for Independent Contractors like me who depends on the Fall Locals promotions that bring many from the tri-state area to the beach for one last final vacation before the snowbirds land.  However, with three weeks of work canceled, that’s all in limbo now.  Or washed up in the flood waters.  Myrtle has visitors right now.  But not many.  And that’s because nobody can get here.  North Carolina is closed, and the river flooding has shut down all but one of our major roadways in and out of the city.  And I probably shouldn’t mention that ONE roadway is nearly a parking lot at any given time of day or night at this point.  Future revenue for many businesses are up in the air for the moment, but there is help for those that don’t know where to file.

As many of you have discovered, the FEMA website can be a bit confusing and frightening with all the warnings of fraud.  No one wants to accidentally commit fraud just because they are seeking help.  So many of you are out there not knowing where to turn or what to do after missing all this time out of work.  Where and how are we supposed to make up the money?  And for those of you with children, as long as schools are out for the next entire week, how are you supposed to work and keep up with the bills?  If these questions are keeping you up at night, you aren’t the only one.  It took a phone call, which many of you have not been able to make today because the phone systems are overloaded, but luckily I made it a few days ago before the FEMA declaration.  This is the information the lovely lady on the other end of the phone gave me.

It seems that most of us have been following the FEMA links only to find out that we don’t have damaged homes or property.  Yet, we still missed out on work and we are still job misplaced due to the storm.  But there’s nothing to clearly point us in the direction of what to do.  So I’m going to share with you, what I was told in hopes that my experience can help you a little.

When I spoke to the rep on the phone she told me that first I would have to go to the Department of Employment Workforceforce website and file for regular Unemployment Insurance or UI.  This is what the homepage of the website looks like…  

And here’s the link…   Click Here To File for Florence Related Unemployment

From what I’ve been told, you won’t automatically qualify.  You may even be denied.  Should that happen, you will be directed to the Federal Disaster Unemployment website.  The link supplied below should look like this…

You can find that link right HERE DUA Unemployment Assistance

Remember, these things take time and when I visited the Workforce Center in Conway today I was told that over 150 people had physically been in the office already and it wasn’t even 2 pm.  No doubt this will be a tedious process as many of us are still experiencing devasting flooding with no real prediction of how bad it will be in sight.

I drove down to the Intercoastal Waterway today and the sight was purely frightening.  

 

Now for those of you with structural and property damages, there is help available. Click the word FEMA for the FEMA claim website.   We have about another two weeks of this my friends, and I know we are strong enough to recover.  Hang in there, or boat in there, whatever you do, just be patient and understanding through it all.  We Will Survive.