SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Individuals who applied for help following the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began Oct. 17, already may have received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to state and federal disaster-recovery officials.
"It's very important that people read these letters carefully," said Ed Laundy, State Coordinating Officer for the Texas Division of Emergency Management (DEM). "It gives them detailed information regarding their teleregistration application."
The two-page message, in both Spanish and English, notifies recipients of their eligibility for assistance, how funds can be spent, and how to file an appeal.
The letter solely addresses disaster-housing assistance from FEMA. However, recipients also may qualify for additional help. Other types of help include crisis counseling, low-interest loans, disaster unemployment assistance, legal assistance and grants for serious needs not met by other government or voluntary agencies.
Robert E. Hendrix, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, advises individuals to keep receipts to show how federal and state funds were spent in case they need to request additional money, and because FEMA may conduct random audits at any time during the next three years.
"Receipts not only verify how federal funds were spent, but also help you when filing disaster losses on your tax report," he said.
Letter holders who still have questions or require additional assistance may call the toll-free FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY 1-800-660-8005), or visit a Disaster Recovery Center. Locations of recovery centers can be obtained through the Helpline.
Disaster victims who have not registered for assistance may call the teleregistration number at 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585). Those who do not have phone access may use a phone at a Disaster Recovery Center.