JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri senior citizens do not have to be concerned that applying for, or receiving, state and federal disaster financial assistance may cause them to sacrifice Social Security benefits, pay additional taxes, or give up income-based benefit programs.
"A state or federal grant does not add to a senior's taxable income, as long as the grant is given as assistance to recover from a disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Karl, head of Missouri's federal recovery effort. "This means that senior citizens will not have to sacrifice any part of their Social Security benefits."
Additionally, disaster grants will not affect income levels to the point where a senior would no longer be eligible for Medicaid, welfare assistance, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. FEMA grants are not repaid by the recipient.
Those who suffered damages and losses as a result of the severe storms and flooding between June 1 and Aug. 13 and have not registered for assistance should call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Lines are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. Disaster victims may also register online at: www.fema.gov.
Once registered with FEMA, applicants may receive a U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan application in the mail.? It is vital that seniors fill out the application even if they do not want a loan. Completing it ensures that a disaster victim is not eliminated from being considered for other forms of disaster assistance.
Seniors who have questions, or need help filling out the loan application, can contact SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov/disaster.