MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Minnesota senior citizens who apply for or receive state or federal disaster assistance will not lose Social Security benefits, pay additional taxes, or give up income-based benefit programs.
"A state or federal disaster assistance recovery grant does not add to a senior's taxable income," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer for Minnesota, Michael H. Smith. "We want seniors to know they will keep all of their Social Security benefits and they will not have to pay back any disaster related grants they receive from FEMA."
Disaster assistance grants are not considered income and will not affect a senior's eligibility for Medicaid, welfare assistance, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
No risk is involved in applying for disaster aid. Seniors should not be afraid to call and apply. FEMA specialists explain the types of help available and walk them through the application process. Multilingual translators can also speak to callers in a language they feel most comfortable with.
Residents in Clay, Norman, Traverse and Wilkin counties who suffered damages and losses as a result of the flooding March 16 and continuing, and have not applied for assistance should call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The telephone registration lines are open seven days a week 6 a.m. to midnight CDT until further notice. They can also apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov at any time.
The registration deadline is June 9, 2009.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.