San Mateo County has been added to the major disaster declaration for California’s severe storms and flooding, meaning residents who had damage or losses from the storms that began Dec. 27, 2022, may now apply for FEMA disaster assistance.
The declaration allows FEMA to provide direct support to individuals and households in nine counties: Calaveras, Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.
Homeowners and renters who had damage or losses as a direct result of the storms are encouraged to apply for FEMA assistance by the March 16, 2023, deadline. 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.
There are several ways that you can apply for FEMA assistance under the Individual Assistance program:
- Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
- Download the FEMA mobile app
- Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Help is available in many languages. If you use video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Helpline operators speak many languages and lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for an interpreter who speaks your language.
- For an accessible video on how to apply, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU7wzRjByhI
- 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).
Additionally, nine counties can now request FEMA Public Assistance funding to help communities cover the costs of debris removal, emergency services and repairing infrastructure damaged by the storms. The counties eligible for reimbursement for different categories of work are: Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Tulare, Ventura. Applicants must file a Request for Public Assistance within 30 days of the date their area is designated under the federal declaration.
The Public Assistance program is FEMA’s largest grant program. It provides funds to assist states, federally recognized tribes, territories, local governments and certain types of private non-profits as they respond to and recover from presidentially declared major disasters or emergencies. The program provides funding for debris removal and emergency assistance to save lives and protect property. It also helps fund permanently restoring community infrastructure affected by a federally declared incident.
The federal share of assistance is generally not less than 75% of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent work. For California, however, President Biden authorized 100% federal reimbursement for the total eligible costs for 60 days from the Dec. 27, 2022, start of the storms.
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