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Federal assistance available after storm

Federal assistance for storm damages

The federal government issued a disaster declaration for much of Texas in the wake of the February winter storm. This will allow individuals within more than 100 counties — including Burnet County — to apply for emergency assistance. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

With President Joe Biden issuing a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas in the wake of the February winter storm, homeowners and renters can apply for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency

The declaration covers all 254 Texas counties for public assistance, and 108 counties, including Burnet and Blanco counties, as of Monday, Feb. 22, for individual assistance. Federal officials said they are still evaluating and gathering information regarding the extent of storm damage and more counties could be added to the list for individual assistance.

Llano County was not yet included in the individual assistance list as of Tuesday, Feb. 23.

“It is important for our residents to understand that the original response from FEMA only qualified Llano County for limited Public Assistance relief for mass care and sheltering during the storm,” said Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham. “Now, as our residents recover from this brutal weather, we need all residents and business owners’ assistance in ensuring Llano County qualifies for Individual Assistance, which will be provided by FEMA and made directly to eligible individuals and families who have sustained losses due to this disaster.”

Cunningham is asking Llano County residents and business owners to complete a voluntary Texas Department of Emergency Management online damage survey. Along with helping state leaders assess the extent of the damage, the information could be shared with FEMA to further add counties to the individual assistance list.

State leaders are also asking those affected by the storm to participate in the survey.

“I urge Texans to fill out the self-reporting damage survey and provide crucial information on the winter weather impacts on their home or property,” Gov. Abbott stated in a media release. “The information gleaned from this survey will help our state identify the full impact of this winter weather and help emergency management better serve Texans.”

Homeowners and renters in counties approved for federal individual assistance can apply for disaster relief for temporary housing costs and home repairs. Low-interest loans are also available to help cover uninsured property losses. 

While people can begin cleaning up storm damage, especially to prevent further damage, officials recommend homeowners and renters document the damage with photographs and keep any receipts for repairs and cleanup. 

Those with insurance need to file claims through their insurance company. People can’t receive both insurance benefits and federal assistance for the same damages.

Once a person files through their insurance, they can also begin the process of filing for FEMA assistance, though the insurance claim will be necessary to determine federal assistance.

Uninsured and insured homeowners and renters can apply for federal assistance through the Disaster Assistance website

Some of the information people will need when applying include:

  • current phone number where they can be reached
  • address at the time of the disaster and address where they are currently staying (if different)
  • Social Security number, if available
  • general list of damages and losses
  • if insured, the insurance policy number or the agent and company name

If a person doesn’t have access to internet, they can call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). Call centers are open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Central Daylight Time, seven days a week.