Following a disaster, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission coordinates efforts to provide both 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.
Crisis Counseling – Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
While many are concerned with the coronavirus specifically, difficult feelings can also emerge due to uncertainty about financial and employment circumstances; stressors like grief and loss, decision-making and school and child care closures; and adjusting to what some are referring to as the “new normal.”
Where Can I Get Help?
In a statewide response to COVID-19, multiple local mental health authorities are providing crisis counseling services to all persons seeking mental health support and referral services. All persons seeking services may also call the statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line (PDF), 833-986-1919, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or contact their local mental health authority for assistance.
- Tips for the Public: Managing Your Stress (PDF)
- Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health — Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak (PDF)
- Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse Considerations During COVID-19 (PDF)
- Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Traumatic Event (PDF)
- Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (PDF)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Resources for Managing Stress
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.
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.
Disaster Assistance Program offers housing assistance for home-owners and renters whose property has been damaged or destroyed in a federally declared disaster. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency oversees and gives this type of help.
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.