OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Oklahoma senior citizens needn't worry that applying for, or receiving, state and federal disaster assistance will cause them to sacrifice their Social Security benefits, pay more taxes or give up income-based benefit programs.
As with all survivors, seniors in Carter, Cleveland, Creek, Garvin, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties may be eligible for assistance if they sustained property damage during the May 10-13 storms and tornadoes.
"Don't be afraid to apply for assistance. It won't affect your taxable income," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton. "Seniors do not have to give up Social Security benefits to receive disaster assistance."
Additionally, applying for state/federal assistance does not affect a person's eligibility for Medicaid, welfare assistance or food stamps. Recipients do not have to repay FEMA grants.
"Seniors won't have to miss out on life-sustaining programs just to receive disaster funds," said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. "They will still be able to receive their benefits."
Survivors can call FEMA to register for assistance or find out more about housing grants and other programs at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Disaster survivors may also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. The deadline to apply for assistance is July 23, 2010.
Survivors may also receive a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application. It is vital that seniors fill out the loan application even if they are not interested in getting a loan or think that they may not qualify. Completing the application ensures that Oklahomans may be considered for other forms of disaster assistance.
Seniors who receive a disaster loan application and have questions can contact SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) site at www.oem.ok.gov or follow OEM on Twitter at twitter.com/okem. Users of smart phones and other mobile devices can visit m.fema.gov.