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Don?t Disqualify Yourself From Disaster Assistance

Release date: 
October 29, 2007
Release Number: 
p>WACO, Texas -- Officials from the Governor's Division of Emergency Management (GDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge Texans affected by Tropical Storm Erin during August 14-20 to make sure they apply for all the federal assistance for which they may be eligible.

To apply for disaster assistance, call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. Applications also may be made on-line at The registration deadline is December 3, 2007.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • Even if you called Texas 2-1-1, your local emergency management office or the American Red Cross to report damage, you MUST still apply directly to FEMA for federal disaster assistance.

Your local emergency management office and the American Red Cross are there in the first days after a disaster to clean-up debris and provide for immediate needs of food, clothing and shelter. But FEMA programs are designed to help with on-going recovery, which starts with housing assistance. Federal assistance comes in the form of grants or U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, but applicants must apply specifically to each in order to be considered for eligibility.

  • Even if you have insurance, you may still be eligible for disaster assistance.

Even though your homeowner's policy may cover most of the cost of repairing your home, there may be some things insurance does not fully cover. Federal disaster assistance may be able to help fill the gaps in insurance coverage.

  • You don't have to wait for your insurance adjuster's inspection or settlement before seeking federal assistance or beginning repairs on your home.

You should begin making repairs on your home as soon as possible to return it to a safe, sanitary condition. Be sure to keep all paperwork and receipts pertaining to work done, and never let any work begin before first obtaining a written estimate. Have insurance settlement papers handy when you apply for federal assistance. This information is necessary in order to determine what unmet needs you may have.

  • If you have received an SBA loan application and have not completed and returned it, this could delay other forms of disaster assistance.

In a disaster declaration, the SBA is the primary source of financial assistance. If you have received an SBA loan application, you should complete and return even if you do not want a loan. If you do not qualify for a loan, you may be referred for other federal or state assistance. You can get help by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or on-line at

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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