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How Texans affected by severe winter storms can apply for federal disaster assistance

FEMA said the assistance can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs, and low-cost loans.

DALLAS — Updated on Feb. 23 after additional counties were approved.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Monday that it had approved an additional 31 counties for disaster assistance after initially approving 77 on Saturday. Residents who live in these 108 counties and suffered damage from the winter storm event can apply for disaster assistance.

President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Texas, and he's asked federal agencies to identify additional resources to help those in need. The president will visit Houston on Friday. 

RELATED: President Joe Biden will visit Houston on Friday for updates on winter storm recovery efforts

Follow FEMA on Twitter for the latest updates for Texans who are seeking help. 

Here's what you need to know about applying:

If you have insurance and are applying for disaster assistance, you must also file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. 

FEMA said by law, it can't duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If insurance does not cover all your damage, you may be eligible for federal assistance. The fastest way to apply is online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

RELATED: Did you evacuate your home due to the Texas winter storms? Your insurance, or FEMA, might cover your costs

If you don't have internet access you can register by calling 800-621-3362 or TTY: 800-462-7585. The phone lines operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT each day. 

To apply for assistance, residents need to: 

  • Take photos of damaged home or belongings.
  • Make a list of damaged or items lost due to disaster
  • Have an insurance determination letter, documents proving your occupancy or ownership and proof of ID.  

Biden’s major disaster declaration provides assistance for these 108 counties:  

Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Cherokee, Collin, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Freestone, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Limestone, Lubbock, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Medina, Milam, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Taylor, Travis, Tyler, Tom Green, Upshur, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, Wise and Wood.

RELATED: Live updates in Texas: Gov. Abbott calls emergency meeting to address the spike in energy bills

What information should you have ready when applying for assistance?

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted.
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying.
  • Your Social Security number, if available.
  • A general list of damage and losses.
  • If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name.

What can you do right now?

  • FEMA advises if it's safe to do so, start cleaning up now.
  • Take photos to document damage, begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. 
  • Keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

What does disaster assistance include?

FEMA said disaster assistance may include financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help people and business owners recover. 

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to businesses, homeowners and renters. To apply call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.

Other ways to report damages

State officials are also asking residents across all 254 counties to report any damage to their homes from the storms in a state survey to share impact assessments with FEMA.

Click here for the survey link.  

Filling out the survey, however, is not a substitute for filing a claim with FEMA or insurance.

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