Receiving Disaster Assistance

Following a disaster, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission coordinates efforts to provide information and help to Texans. During a disaster this page will provide information on office openings, benefits and information about other groups offering aid. Read below for the types of help provided in past disasters.

Event-Specific Assistance Information

Storm Assistance

SNAP Benefit Replacement

SNAP recipients in the 16 counties listed below have until June 17 to request replacement benefits for food lost or destroyed due to severe weather across Texas on and after May 16.

  • Austin
  • Chambers
  • Colorado
  • Eastland
  • Hardin
  • Harris
  • Jasper
  • Jones
  • Lamar
  • Liberty
  • Montgomery
  • Polk
  • San Jacinto
  • Trinity
  • Walker
  • Waller

SNAP recipients in these counties can request replacement benefits by calling 2-1-1 and choosing Option 8.

They may also choose one of the following options:

Mail: Texas Health and Human Services Commission
           P.O. Box 149027
           Austin, TX 78714-9027

Fax: 877-447-2839

Recipients who live in counties other than those listed above must apply for replacement benefits in person at a local benefits office by submitting Form H1855 within 10 days of discovering their food was lost or destroyed due to the severe weather.

Once benefits are approved, clients should receive replacement benefits on their Lone Star Card within two business days.

Hot Foods

SNAP recipients in the counties below that were affected by the severe weather can buy hot food items, such as prepared foods from a store’s deli, at retailers that accept SNAP until June 30:

Angelina, Austin, Brazoria, Brown, Calhoun, Callahan, Chambers, Colorado, Comanche, Delta, Eastland, Erath, Fannin, Fayette, Fisher, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Haskell, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Montgomery, Newton, Nolan, Orange, Palo Pinto, Polk, Red River, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Waller, Washington, and Wharton.

For more information, read the Texas Storms: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).

General Disaster Assistance Information

Food

When a disaster strikes, HHSC will work with the federal government to make sure services such as SNAP food benefits remain available to our clients. In addition to administering Disaster SNAP, you might be able to get benefits early, have benefits replaced, buy hot foods with your Lone Star Card or have your benefits renewed automatically. In the event of an emergency lost Lone Star Cards can be replaced in a local office.

WIC can play an important role in helping families impacted by disasters get back on their feet. WIC benefits will continue to be provided during a disaster.

Health Care

HHSC realizes a disaster can force families out of their homes, making it difficult to find health care. If a disaster strikes, HHSC and medical plans may work to:

  • Make sure you can see an out-of-network provider for emergency and non-emergency services if you evacuate.
  • Help you find a new doctor if you can't see your old doctor.
  • Make sure your service authorizations can be extended if the disaster affects your ability to get a new service authorization.
  • Reschedule your fair hearing if you miss the hearing because of the disaster.
  • Waive your CHIP co-payments for a period of time.

When a disaster strikes, you can get information from your medical plan or on this page about temporary adjustments to processes and policies HHSC implements as a result of a disaster.

Housing

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversees and gives this type of help. It includes:

  • Housing for a limited time
  • Home repair and building
  • Another home (replacement)

Who is it for?

Home owners and renters whose property has been damaged or destroyed in a federally declared disaster.      
If a person living in the home isn’t a spouse or dependent, they must apply for help on their own. To find out if someone is a dependent, go to Publication 501 (2022), Dependents, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. People visiting or passing through when the disaster happened also might be able to get help if they had damages.

Contacts

FEMA Housing Assistance   
Phone: 1-800-621-3362   
Website: www.FEMA.gov

Other Needs Assistance

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission works with FEMA in giving this type of help. It helps pay for disaster-related costs such as:

  • Furniture and appliances
  • Vehicle repair and replacement
  • Moving and storage
  • Medical and dental needs
  • Funeral needs
  • Child care

Other facts

To get Other Needs Assistance these rules must be met:

  • The county where you live must be declared a federal disaster area.
  • You must apply for disaster help and be approved by FEMA.
  • If you need help paying for furniture, appliances or damaged vehicles, you may first need to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. This could be required even if you don’t own a business. Contact the SBA for more information regarding this.
  • If you have insurance (home, health, flood, or car), you need to file a claim with your insurance company. Keep insurance records of the money they give you for losses.
  • You must first use all insurance benefits and any other help you can get from federal, state, and local agencies (for example, insurance settlements, disaster loans, and help from the Red Cross and Salvation Army).
  • You can’t get Other Needs Assistance if you turn down other help.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen. Certain legal immigrants also might be able to get help. If only your child is a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant who meets certain rules, you can apply for help on your child’s behalf.

Contacts

Texas HHSC Other Needs Assistance   
Phone: 1-800-582-5233 (toll-free)   
Email: DisasterAssistance@hhsc.state.tx.us   
Mail:   
HHSC Disaster Assistance MC Y-950   
P.O. Box 149030   
Austin, TX 78714

U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance   
Phone: 1-202-205-6734   
Website: www.SBA.gov

State Hospitals and State Supported Living Centers

Each state supported living center and state hospital has extensive evacuation plans and designated shelter sites in case we need to move our residents. Should an evacuation become necessary, we will contact the family as soon as possible.

We will update this site during an evacuation to identify the evacuating facility as well as the shelter site location. If you can't reach the facility through the social worker or switchboard during an emergency, call the HSCS Emergency Operations Center 512-206-5435.