Governor Abbott announced Saturday that President Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Texas following the winter storm that left residents without power and thousands of Texans dealing with busted pipes and water leaks.
The declaration allows homeowners and renters in 77 counties that have been designated for individual assistance to apply for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
To apply for assistance online, visit disasterassistance.gov, or call (800) 621-3362. The lines will be in operation seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
According to Abbot, “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.”
According to FEMA, people who have insurance who are applying for disaster assistance must also file a claim with their insurance company as soon as possible. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses that are already covered by insurance, but uncovered damage may be eligible for federal aid.
Before contacting FEMA, residents should be prepared with a current phone number address at the time of the disaster and current address, social security number if available, a general list of damage and losses and an insurance policy number or the agent and company name if they are insured.
Financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs may be included in the disaster assistance.
For information U.S. Small Business Administration is also offering businesses, homeowners and renters low-interest disaster loans. More information may be found at sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, or by calling (800) 659-2955.
The major disaster declaration does not cover all of the state’s 254 counties. According to Texas Division of Emergency Management Director Nim Kidd Texans should complete the state’s damage assessment report, which will be used with the goal of securing more federal relief.
It is estimated that at least 2.7 million Texans were without power at some time during last week’s storm, and almost 14 million people were under some kind of boil water advisory in the storm’s aftermath.