AUSTIN, TX – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a 30-day extension to the assistance program created to help Texans after the massive winter storm in February.
Individuals who live in qualifying counties now have until May 20, 2021, to submit damages and make claims to FEMA. After the storm, the White House partially approved Texas' request for a Major Disaster Declaration. The partial approval ultimately included Individual Assistance in 126 counties and for Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures Only) in all 254 counties.
"Thank you to FEMA for granting this registration period extension for Individual Assistance to counties severely impacted by the winter storm," said Governor Abbott. "I encourage Texans in the qualifying counties to apply for this assistance to help repair any lasting damages from the storm."
After an individual or family files for assistance, they will be contacted by FEMA in regards to the amount of money they will be awarded. The agency stresses it is important the funds are used for their intended purpose – disaster-related expenses - and not for household expenses or other expenditures.
Some examples of repairs include:
- Home repairs (e.g., structure, water, septic, and sewage systems)
- Rental assistance for rent and/or deposit
- Repair or replacement of a flooded essential vehicle
- Medical or dental care for an uninsured injury caused by the disaster
- Repair of occupational specialized tools
- Necessary educational materials (e.g., computers, schoolbooks, supplies)
- Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster
- Increased childcare expenses.
If a recipient is found to have used the funds for other things, they could be asked to return the funds and denied assistance in the future.
Survivors who incurred in lodging expenses due to utility outages only and did not have disaster-related damage to their homes may be eligible for reimbursement (the period is from Feb. 11 to Feb. 28, when the storms happened).
Rental assistance is available to those whose homes were made inhabitable by the disaster and may be used for security deposits, rent, and the cost of essential utilities, such as gas and water, NOT to pay for separate cable or internet bills.
Renters who face eviction or have been evicted from their storm-damaged apartment complex—whether their unit had damage or not—may be eligible for disaster assistance and those renters who have already registered for federal assistance and were evicted after they registered due to damage to other parts of their complex should call the FEMA Helpline.
These grants are not taxable income and won’t affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Texans in the 126 counties that qualify for Individual Assistance can apply at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/.