FEMA issues information about available assistance
Texas homeowners and renters in 31 additional counties who suffered damage from the winter storm that struck Texas last week may now apply for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a FEMA news release.
If people have insurance and are applying for disaster assistance, they must also file a claim with their insurance company as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If insurance does not cover all of the damage a person incurs, he or she may be eligible for federal assistance.
FEMA said the fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov
If it is not possible to register online, people may call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.
The 31 additional counties are: Anderson, Austin, Bosque, Bowie, Burnet, Cherokee, Colorado, Erath, Fannin, Freestone, Gonzalez, Grayson, Gregg, Harrison, Hill, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jim Wells, Jones, Limestone, Lubbock, Medina, Milam, Navarro, Rusk, Taylor, Tom Green, Val Verde, Washington and Wood.
When people apply for assistance, they must have the following information readily available:
- A current phone number where they can be contacted
- Their address at the time of the disaster and the address where they are now staying
- Social Security number, if available
- A general list of damage and losses
- If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name
If it is safe to do so, people may start cleaning up now, FEMA officials said. Residents should take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. They should remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.
Disaster assistance may include financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
The additional counties join the 77 counties previously approved for disaster assistance. The counties are: Angelina, Aransas, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson and Wise.
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to businesses, homeowners and renters. Call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance
From Staff Reports [email protected]