Be Prepared for Winter
As many parts of the country have already experienced this year, winter can be unpredictable. Last month, we brought you helpful information about preparing your home for the winter season. This month, Benefits.gov wants to continue in this theme and help to equip you with some helpful tips on how to prepare your vehicle and to highlight some benefit programs that might be available to you if a winter disaster strikes your area.

According to the Ready.gov Winter Storms & Extreme Cold page, run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you should check (referring to your owner's manual), or have a mechanic check, the following items on your car:
  • Antifreeze levels - Ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  • Battery and ignition system - Clean the battery terminals and verify that they are in top condition.
  • Brakes - Check for wear and fluid levels.
  • Heater and defroster - Ensure they work properly.
  • Windshield wipers and washer fluid - Repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
  • Install good winter tires - Make sure the tires have adequate tread; all-weather radials are usually acceptable for most winter conditions.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected - Make sure you have an ice scraper, flashlight, first aid kit, shovel, and blanket in your car.

Winter storms can cause severe damage to businesses and property from ice, strong winds and heavy snow. If you find yourself in a Presidentially declared disaster area, you might be eligible for benefits such as tax counseling, if your property has been damaged or lost, or for crisis counseling to help individuals understand their situation, reactions, mitigate stress, assist survivors in reviewing their disaster recovery options, and encouraging linkages with other individuals and agencies who may help survivors in their recovery process. If you own a business, you might be able to receive loans to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For more information you can further explore Ready.gov and the Winter Storm page on DisasterAssistance.gov. You can also take the confidential questionnaire on DisasterAssistance.gov to help you find and apply for the disaster assistance you may need. Benefits.gov, DisasterAssistance.gov, and all of our Federal agency Partners wish you an enjoyable and safe winter season.