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Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday, Feb. 22 that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved an additional 31 Texas counties, including Navarro County, to be added to the President's Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance.

Counties included in this approval are 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, Wood.

The governor originally requested Individual Assistance for all 254 Texas counties Feb. 13. President Joe Biden approved Texas' request for a Major Disaster Declaration Feb. 20, granting approval for Individual Assistance in 77 counties and for Public Assistance, Emergency Protective Measures Only, in all 254 counties.

Additional counties will continue to be re-requested as the State of Texas continues to receive information reported from individuals who have suffered damage from the winter storm.

Texans are urged to fill out the Texas Division of Emergency Management's Texas Individual Assistance Reporting Tool to help the state identify damages across Texas and help emergency management officials gain an understanding of damages that occurred during the recent winter weather.

FEMA has asked the state of Texas for additional information regarding the amount of damage in the counties that have yet to be declared, and TDEM will continue to present that information until all Texas counties that qualify for federal assistance receive the assistance they need.

"I thank FEMA for their swift approval of these additional counties and for their continued partnership as we ensure Texans have access to relief following the winter storm," Abbott said. "I urge Texans to use the Texas Individual Assistance Reporting Tool so that the state can continue to identify damages and fight for the crucial assistance that our communities need."

According to the president’s declaration, assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help people and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

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

By law, FEMA cannot 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.

If you can’t register online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.

When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:

• 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

If it is safe to do so, start cleaning up now. Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide.

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

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