Deadline Monday to file for FEMA aid

Some Kerr County residents may qualify for disaster aid to help pay for some of their repair costs related to the extreme weather storm back in February, but they must file by tomorrow.

“The deadline for anyone hoping to get FEMA Individual Assistance funds to fix burst pipes, damaged heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, refrigerators and other appliances damaged during that severe ice and snow storm back in February is by the end of the business day Monday, Aug. 23,” said Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator William B. “Dub” Thomas.

There is much that the FEMA Individual Assistance funding will help with for uninsured and insured property owners, but the first step is in knowing how to properly file a claim, he explained.

“We’ve had lots of confusion previously about how to file a claim with FEMA,” Thomas said. “Due to a series of event and Kerr County’s late inclusion in the IA designation, what you need to know is that the first step requires you to call FEMA’s toll-free help line at 1-800-621-3362 to first register, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. daily.”

“That first step is absolutely necessary, because if you skip that and go to file at the FEMA website, you won’t be able to,” he said. “You first have to be called and added into FEMA’s system as a potential claimant over the phone. Then you can proceed with filing your claim online at www.disasterassistance.gov.”

To file, individuals must upload any documents that support their claims of damages, such as photos or even receipts of the materials needed to do the repair.

FEMA stated that property owners who suffered losses to uninsured properties should file with FEMA as soon as possible. Residents whose properties were insured should file with their insurance provider first, before applying with FEMA. If insurance does not cover all the damages caused by the storm to a property, then the owner may be eligible for federal assistance.

When filing for assistance, property owners are advised to have the following information on hand:

• A current telephone number where they can be reached.

• Their address at the time of the disaster and the address where they are now.

• Their Social Security number.

• A general list of damage and losses.

• If insured, the insurance policy number and the agent or company name

Disaster assistance from FEMA may come in the form of financial aid for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of that historic Texas winter storm.

For eligible homeowners in a designated county, FEMA assistance may include:

Assistance in the repairing of damages related to burst pipes and disaster-damaged heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, refrigerators and stoves.

Other possible repairs that may be covered include:

• Disaster-related damage to electrical, plumbing or gas in the home.

• Leaks in a roof that damaged ceilings and threatened electrical components.

• Disaster-damaged subfloor in essential occupied parts of the home.

• Disaster-related broken windows.

Survivors who incurred uninsured lodging expenses due to utility outages only and who did not have disaster-related damage to their homes may now be eligible for reimbursement for the period of Feb. 11-28.

Reimbursement may also be possible for:

• Funds spent to rent alternative housing for applicants whose homes were made uninhabitable by the disaster.

• Funds spent to repair or replace essential, uninsured and disaster-damaged personal property items, including items damaged by burst pipes.

• Certain items purchased because of the disaster, such as a generator purchased during the event by the applicant to power medically required equipment after a utility outage.

• Funds for primary vehicles damaged by the disaster, including damage from fallen trees, power lines or vehicle accidents caused by unsafe driving conditions.

• Funds for uninsured medical and dental needs or losses caused by the disaster, such as medically required items damaged by burst pipes or medical treatment needed due to exposure to below-freezing temperatures.

• And, FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance program can reimburse costs for childcare needed as a result of a household’s increased financial burden to care for children aged 13 and younger and/or children up to 21 years of age with a disability who need assistance with activities with daily living as defined by federal law.

For those across Texas who have immediate needs, there are volunteer organizations set up to help with additional resources. Call 2-1-1 Texas.

FEMA cannot reimburse individuals for food lost due to a power failure, but suggested that locals turn to volunteer organizations in the community who may be able to help with food needs.

FEMA also does not help pay for energy or other utility bills. Residents seeking assistance are encouraged to contact their utility company for payment plans or deferred payment options.

And FEMA does not cover insurance deductibles. However, when insured disaster-caused damage is less than the deductible, FEMA may provide assistance to help with that applicant’s needs.

Questions about the FEMA IA filing process and more may be directed to Thomas at 830-315-2430 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, or by emailing wthomas@co.kerr.tx.us.

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