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Smith County residents and business owners who sustained damage in the recent winter storms may be eligible for federal assistance with FEMA and the Small Business Administration.

Smith County is one of 77 Texas counties originally listed in a federal disaster declaration approved for Texas.

The eligible counties named in the federal disaster declaration are: Angelina, Aransas, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson and Wise.

On Monday, 31 counties throughout the state and some in East Texas were added. These include: Anderson, Austin, Bosque, Bowie, Burnet, Cherokee, Colorado, Erath, Fannin, Freestone, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Harrison, Hill, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jim Wells, Jones, Limestone, Lubbock, Medina, Milam, Navarro, Rusk, Taylor, Tom Green, Val Verde, Washington and Wood.

Here’s information on how you can apply for federal assistance.

Disaster Assistance from FEMAHomeowners or renters who sustained individual damage can apply for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Assistance includes financial help for temporary lodging and home repairs; low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses; and other programs to help people and businesses recover.

Those with insurance who are applying for disaster assistance must also file a claim with their insurance company. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance, but you may be eligible for federal assistance if your insurance does not cover all of your losses.

There are several ways to apply for assistance:

  • Visit www.disasterassistance.gov.
  • Call toll-free 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. any day of the week. Persons using a relay service such as videophone, Innocaption or CapTel should update FEMA with the specific number assigned to that service.

When calling, make sure you have a current phone number where you can be reached, your address at the time of the disaster, the address where you are now staying, your Social Security number (if available), a general list of damage and losses and your insurance policy number, agent and company name (if insured).

FEMA is recommending residents take photos to document damage and begin clean-up and repairs to prevent further damage. Residents should keep receipts from all purchases related to clean-up and repair.

Disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration

Low-interest federal disaster loans are also available from the U.S. Small Business Adminsitration, including:

  • business physical disaster loans up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged property, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. There is no business size restriction, and private, non-profit organizations like churches, charities and private colleges are also eligible.
  • economic injury disaster loans up to $2 million, which are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private, non-profit organizations meet financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster.
  • home disaster loans, for homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and property.

Applicants must have an acceptable credit history, ability to repay all loans and collateral for physical loss loans over $25,000 and economic injury disaster loans over $25,000.

A virtual business recovery center and virtual disaster loan outreach center will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT. Email FOCWAssistance@sba.gov or call (800) 659-2955.

To be considered for disaster assistance, applications must first contact FEMA at www.disasterassistance.gov.

For SBA loans, applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/.

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Live in a county not covered by the disaster declaration?The Texas Division of Emergency Management is encouraging residents to complete a self-reporting damage survey to help officials identify damage that has occurred from the recent winter storms.

The survey will also help provide information to FEMA and the federal government about the need for federal disaster assistance for individuals, TDEM said.

The survey is available in both English and Spanish at www.tdem.texas.gov/warm.

“I urge Texans to fill out the Self Reporting Damage Survey and provide crucial information on the winter weather impacts to their home or property,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “The information gleaned from this survey will help our state identify the full impact of this winter weather and help emergency management better serve Texans.”

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