Wildfire survivors have more time to register for federal assistance
Texas homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered losses caused by the wildfires on or after Aug. 30 have more time to apply for federal disaster recovery assistance, officials from the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said today.At the request of the state, FEMA is extending the registration deadline to Jan. 6."We hope this additional time will ensure that every Texan affected by the wildfires has an opportunity to register for state and federal assistance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. "We want to be sure to reach all wildfire survivors who still need help."There are three ways to apply for federal assistance. Wildfire survivors can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA's toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Recovery assistants are available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are also available.Once registered, wildfire survivors are encouraged to keep in touch with FEMA. Applicants should call FEMA's helpline at the numbers above to update FEMA when they:• Change primary phone numbers;• Move to another address or change current mailing address; • Need to reschedule an appointment with the inspector who will assess the damage to their home or personal property;• Get a letter from FEMA and have questions about it;• Receive an insurance settlement;• Want to check the status of their application, or:• Want to add direct deposit information.To date, FEMA has approved nearly $12.8 million in assistance to wildfire survivors in Texas, while the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved more than $16.4 million in disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations.Available disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing needs, essential home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources. Low-interest disaster loans from the SBA are also available for homeowners, renters and business owners to repair or replace real or personal property.