JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Kind-hearted Missourians affected by the flooding in mid-March and the severe storms and tornadoes in May should not forego registering for disaster assistance just because they think it will keep that aid from reaching their less-fortunate neighbors.
Federal and state officials assured Missourians there is enough disaster assistance available for all who qualify.
"Many times in a disaster, some people feel others have suffered more than they have, and they don't want to take money from those they think may have a greater need, especially families," said the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Karl.
Aid recipients have also expressed concern that their disaster assistance grants might cause them to lose Social Security benefits, pay additional taxes, or give up income-based benefits programs.
"Federal and state disaster grants will not affect Social Security benefits and they are not taxable," said Karl.
Families, individuals and businesses in Missouri that have suffered damage from severe storms and flooding in mid-March have until June 26, 2008 to register for federal assistance. The deadline for those who suffered damages in the severe storms and tornadoes of May 10 - 11 is July 22.
Those who have not yet registered should call the FEMA Helpline and registration number, 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA). The TTY number for the speech- or hearing-impaired is 1-800-462-7585. The registration line is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week Online, register anytime at www.fema.gov.
Registrants are also urged to submit their loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA loan applications are a key part of the FEMA registration process. If you are a homeowner or renter and SBA determines your cannot afford a loan, you may be referred for other eligible assistance. Additional information is available at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance or 1-800-659-2955.
For more information, or to find copies of Social Security publications, visit the agency's website a www.socialsecurity.gov/about.htm.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.