Disaster Assistance Program
The Disaster Assistance Program provides money or assistance to those whose property has been damaged or destroyed in a federally declared disaster.
There are two types of assistance:
Housing Assistance helps pay for temporary housing, housing repairs, home replacement and permanent housing construction. This assistance is provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Contact FEMA for all housing assistance requests.
Other Needs Assistance is for help with disaster-related expenses for personal property, transportation, medical and funeral needs. This assistance is provided through HHSC Emergency Services program.
When is Other Needs Assistance Provided?Before Other Needs Assistance can be provided, several conditions must be met:
The county where you live must be declared a major federal disaster area. See list of disaster declarations for Texas.
You must apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan even if you do not own a business. SBA provides disaster loans to individuals and businesses that are able to repay the loans. If your only expenses are disaster-related medical, dental or funeral bills, you do not have to apply for an SBA loan.
If you have home, health, flood or car insurance, you must file a claim with your insurance for your losses and keep records of the settlements.
You must first use all insurance benefits and any other help available from federal, state and local agencies (for example, insurance settlements, disaster loans and assistance from the Red Cross and Salvation Army).
You cannot get Other Needs Assistance if you refuse other assistance.
You must be a U.S. citizen. Certain qualified legal immigrants may also receive assistance. If you or your spouse are not a U.S. citizen or qualified legal immigrant, but your child is, then you can apply on his or her behalf.
Who May Qualify?
Any head of a household in a declared disaster area may apply for assistance. Both homeowners and renters may apply. Household members who are not classified as dependents by the Internal Revenue Service must apply separately. People visiting or passing through the disaster area who had damages when the disaster occurred also may qualify for assistance.
How to Apply
Apply for assistance by visiting the FEMA website or by calling FEMA’s toll-free number 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for people with speech or hearing disabilities). Applications are accepted for 60 days after the date of the federal disaster area declaration, although a 30-day extension may be granted in unusual circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
For more information, including information about what to expect after you apply for assistance and what items are covered, visit the FEMA Disaster Assistance Frequently Asked Questions web page.
HHSC Disaster Assistance Contact Information
For questions about Other Needs Assistance, call toll free 1-800-582-5233 (TTY 1-888-440-4998 for people with speech or hearing disabilities), e-mail DisasterAssistance@hhsc.state.tx.us, or send mail to: HHSC Disaster Assistance Y-950; P.O. Box 149030; Austin, Texas 78714-9030.