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Struggling with FEMA forms? Local city offers to help

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 11:19 AM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - FEMA said it has given out more than $41 million in relief to people affected by last month’s winter storm, and if you still need to file for aid, the city of Waco may be able to help.

Waco is partnering with McLennan county to set up an application center in the East Waco Library.

Typically a FEMA recovery center would be available, but the COVID-19 pandemic means everything is virtual.

City staff will be available to help people with the applications from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The center will be open through March 12.

An appointment is required.

Residents can call (254) 313-9508 to make one.

The city recommends calling between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The city said this center is really to help people with no internet access or who aren’t comfortable with computers.

Staff aren’t FEMA experts and there won’t be anyone from FEMA available at the site.

“This really isn’t a special way to get better FEMA advice or better insurance advice,” Melett Harrison, director of neighborhood management for Waco, said.

“We are simply there to help people input a form.”

FEMA said if residents are hoping to apply for aid, they should do it as soon as possible.

The best way to fill out the form is online, but you can also call 1-800-621-3316.

There is also a FEMA mobile app to download, and people can request aid that way.

“Do it right now, if you have any damages, take photographs. save receipts, take pictures, document everything just in case,” Alberto Pillot, a FEMA spokesperson said.

“Because now people are trying to get back into and repairing and cleaning up.”

Pillot said there is a lot of fraud out there, but it will never ask people for any money.

Pillot added FEMA will call you to set up a virtual inspections so it’s important to leave good contact information.

Before applying for aid from FEMA, you must complete the claim process with your insurance company.

If you need to request support from FEMA, Pillot said people need the address of the building that was damaged, phone numbers you can be reached at, bank routing information where grant dollars can be deposited.

Pillot added it’s good to also have any receipts.

He adds FEMA is not meant to bring people back to normal. Instead, he called it “an immediate needs agency,” and FEMA tries to make sure immediate needs are covered.

Pillot said if you file for aid with FEMA and don’t agree with the response, keep all documentation and appeal the decision. People have 60 days from the time they receive the letter to appeal.

If you have any questions about the FEMA process, you can call 1-800-621-3362 or go to disasterassistance.gov.

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