San Antonio, TX -- The Sept. 2, 2002 deadline to apply for state and federal assistance in the wake of the Texas Floods of 2002 is fast approaching and state and federal officials urge individuals, business owners and farmers who have suffered damage and losses to call now.
"Individuals sometimes don't call because they feel their damage isn't as bad as their neighbors', or they now get Social Security or other benefits and think they aren't entitled to more help," said State Coordinating Officer Duke Mazurek, of the Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety. "Disaster assistance benefits will not affect your eligibility for Social Security, welfare, food stamps or other federal benefits."
"Everyone who has suffered a loss of any sort is urged to apply so we can determine additional assistance to help you recover from the disaster," said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Federal Coordinating Officer Scott Wells. "Don't disqualify yourself. Make the phone call to FEMA's toll-free number today and let the experts get you on the right track. The phone number is: 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY: 800-462-7585."
Requesting disaster assistance will not jeopardize a lawful permanent resident's application for citizenship. A person who is neither a citizen nor a lawful permanent resident is not eligible for assistance. However, children born in the United States automatically become citizens and are eligible for assistance. Their parents, even if they are in this country unlawfully, can apply for assistance on behalf of the child without fear of jeopardizing their own situation.
Federal disaster assistance does not guarantee total recovery from all disaster losses. Assistance is limited to helping return damaged or lost property to its pre-disaster condition or to meeting necessary expenses and serious needs through programs such as temporary housing assistance, individual and family grants that don't have to be paid back, disaster loans, crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance and tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).