Governor Greg Abbott announced Feb. 22 that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved an additional 31 Texas counties to be added to the President's Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance.
Counties included in this approval are Anderson, Austin, Bosque, Bowie, Burnet, Cherokee, Colorado, Erath, Fannin, Freestone, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Harrison, Hill, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jim Wells, Jones, Limestone, Lubbock, Medina, Milam, Navarro, Rusk, Taylor, Tom Green, Val Verde, Washington, Wood.
Texas homeowners and renters in the 77 counties designated for individual assistance who sustained damage may now apply for disaster assistance with FEMA.
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.
According to FEMA, if you have insurance and are applying for disaster assistance, you must also file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible.
By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance.
If insurance does not cover all your damage, you may be eligible for federal assistance, FEMA said in a statement Saturday.
The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov.
If it is not possible to register online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week.
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.
When you apply for assistance, FEMA says to have the following information readily available:
- 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, 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, start cleaning up now," FEMA said in a news release. "Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair."
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.