Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties have been added to the major federal disaster declaration for California’s severe storms and flooding, meaning residents who had damage or losses from the storms may now apply for FEMA disaster assistance.
President Biden approved an emergency declaration after the Golden State was hit by waves of atmospheric river storms beginning Dec. 27. A major disaster declaration was approved Jan. 14, allowing FEMA to provide direct support to individuals and households in Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties under its Individual Assistance program. Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, three counties further south along the coast, were added Jan. 17.
Homeowners and renters in the six counties who had damage or losses as a direct result of the storms are encouraged to apply for assistance. Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing and essential home repairs as well as other serious disaster-related needs such as medical and dental expenses, transportation, childcare, and moving and storage expenses.
If you have insurance, first file a claim with your insurance provider. FEMA provides assistance to applicants for your uninsured or underinsured disaster-caused expenses and serious needs.
Applicants are required to let FEMA know about all insurance coverage including flood, homeowners and vehicle. By law, FEMA cannot provide you a grant when any other source – insurance, crowdfunding or financial assistance from voluntary agencies – has covered expenses for the same disaster-related need.
To apply for FEMA assistance, go to DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. If you use video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Helpline operators are available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for an interpreter who speaks your language.
The deadline to apply to FEMA is Thursday, March 16.
You can also visit a Disaster Recovery Center and meet with FEMA staff and representatives of other federal and state agencies who can provide information about disaster assistance. To find a recovery center near you, visit DRC Locator (fema.gov).
For the latest information on California’s recovery from the severe winter storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides, visit FEMA.gov/disaster/4683. You may also follow twitter.com/Cal_OES, facebook.com/CaliforniaOES, twitter/FEMARegion9 and facebook.com/FEMA.