The Federal Emerency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Texas to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by a severe winter storm beginning on Feb. 11, 2021 and continuing.
Important deadline: You have 60 days from the date of the disaster declaration (2/19/21) to apply for FEMA assistance. The deadline to apply for assistance for recovery from this disaster (DR-4586-TX) is April 20, 2021.
What can FEMA do for you?
FEMA can help with temporary housing. FEMA can assist you with your hotel bill. In some cases, FEMA will pay the hotel bill for you. You can consult a list of these hotels at http://www.femaevachotels.com. If your hotel is not a participating hotel, save your hotel invoice to request a FEMA refund after paying.
FEMA can help with rent. FEMA can assist you with at least one month’s rent in a new location if a disaster damaged your home.
FEMA can help repair your home. FEMA can provide homeowners with a limited amount of help to make their residence safe, sanitary, and functional. Homeowners who have good credit and enough income to repay a loan can also get a government-backed loan to fully repair their home. You may need get clear title to your property if you do not have a deed in your name by the time you register with FEMA.
FEMA can help replace personal belongings. FEMA may give you money to replace personal belongings damaged or destroyed during the disaster. Things FEMA can help you replace include clothing, vehicles, furniture, appliances, and other important personal property.
FEMA can help with other expenses caused by a disaster. FEMA can help you with medical expenses, dental expenses, funeral expenses, transportation expenses, and other serious needs caused by the disaster. FEMA will not cover these expenses unless it can demonstrate they were caused by the disaster. You may need your doctor to give you a note saying that your medical or dental expenses were caused by the disaster. You may also need to provide receipts for any other expenses caused by a disaster.
FEMA can help even if you have insurance. FEMA can help you with needs that are not covered by your insurance or give you money while you wait for the insurance money. You may need to provide FEMA with a copy of your insurance policy. FEMA will not cover your insurance deductible. You will need to reimburse FEMA after receiving your insurance money.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance immediately by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.
- Consider filing an application for FEMA assistance even if you don’t think you need it at the time. This can help document your damage in case you need FEMA’s help later.
- Keep all the papers you get from FEMA.
- Keep receipts that show how you spend the money FEMA gives you. Keep these receipts for three years.
- When FEMA gives you money, they will tell you how you should use it.
- Only use FEMA money for things FEMA tells you to spend.
- Apply for other benefits, like disaster unemployment and disaster food stamps, if possible, so you won’t be tempted to use FEMA money for living expenses.
- Be sure to claim the full value of your damaged home or property, even if it exceeds FEMA or insurance limits.
What if my application is denied?
If you are denied by FEMA, the appeal deadline is 60 days from the date on the denial letter.
If you need legal help with FEMA or in obtaining clear title to your home so that you can apply for FEMA, you can apply for free assistance by calling 1-800-733-8394 or by visiting http://www.lonestarlegal.org.
Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.
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