Coryell, Bell County residents can apply for Federal disaster assistance
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Texas homeowners and renters in the 77 counties designated for individual assistance who sustained damage may now apply for disaster assistance with FEMA.
Those with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance must file a claim with their insurance company as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. However, according to a press release from FEMA, if insurance does not cover all your damage, you may be eligible for federal assistance.
Applications may be submitted online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling 800-621-3362. The operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week.
Coryell and Bell Counties were among the 77 which were approved for the designation by President Joe Biden, as well as McLennan and Williamson Counties.
Those applying will need to provide a phone number, address at the time of the disaster, Social Security number, a general list of damage and losses. If insured, you must also provide your insurance policy number, or the agent and company name.
FEMA recommends taking photos to document damage and beginning cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage, and also recommends keeping 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. 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 or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
The announcement was released by FEMA on Saturday. Although Governor Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration on Thursday all 254 counties, the Biden administration approved the request for individual assistance in 77 counties. The Biden administration did approve Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures Only) for all 254 counties.
It’s not clear why other neighboring counties, such as Lampasas County, were not included in this Federal disaster declaration.
“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” said Governor Abbott. “While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need. The funds provided under the Major Disaster Declaration may provide crucial assistance to Texans as they begin to repair their homes and address property damage.”
The governor’s office announced on Friday that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission also received federal approval to allow SNAP recipients who have had food lost or destroyed due to the storm to apply for replacement food benefits. This is for all Texas counties.
SNAP clients can request their replacement food benefits by dialing 2-1-1 and selecting option 2. They can also download Form H1855 (Affidavit for Nonreceipt or Destroyed Food Stamp Benefits) on the HHSC website, then either mail or fax the completed form to HHSC. Completed forms should be mailed to Texas Health and Human Services Commission, PO Box 149027, Austin, TX, 78714-9027, or faxed to 877-447-2839. For more information on SNAP replacement benefits, visit www.hhs.texas.gov.