FEMA offering disaster assistance to Texans affected by the winter storm

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WACO, Texas – Texas homeowners and renters in 77 counties with damage due to the winter storm can apply for Federal Disaster Assistance with FEMA.

Kurt Pickering, Public Affairs Specialist with FEMA , says this initiative is to get people through the emergency and on the road to recovery.

“We are not going to cover every dollar you laid out. We are going to cover the dollars necessary to make the home a viable livable place to live,” Pickering said.

There are three ways to register for assistance – online at www.disasterassistance.gov, call 800-621-3362, or with the FEMA app.

Before applying for assistance, Pickering advised people to follow two steps.

“The first should be to check with their insurance. We can’t duplicate insurance benefits,” Pickering said.

In addition, look for local resources which can help meet the needs.

“Call 2-1-1 if I have an unmet need. And then if I still have an unmet need, then I would register for FEMA at that point,” Pickering said.

While insurance is important, having it does not mean a person cannot apply for assistance.

“If your insurance has given you what they are going to give you, and you still have unmet needs, then definitely register – even if you have insurance,” Pickering said.

The application will ask a series of questions, and the most current information is needed – especially if a person is displaced.

“My advice is to register through the website, because I think it is the fastest way,” Pickering said. “After you have registered, if you go a week and you have not heard from us, then there is a problem somewhere and you should give us a call.”

FEMA will be working on each application by case, and each person should include pictures of the damages.

“We don’t want you living in a damaged environment. We want you to be able to get that process started so that your home is safe,” Pickering said.

With many people in this situation due to the disaster, he emphasized one thing to remember.

“Be careful of scamming. Scam artists pretending to be contractors,” Pickering said. “When you do have someone come to your place from FEMA for whatever reason, an inspector or whatever, they will always have a FEMA badge.”

As of now, 77 counties are on the list – but he says more counties will be added. To see if your county is on the list, you can search here.

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