COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Receiving Social Security benefits and other forms of government aid should not prevent Carter, Lawrence and Wayne county residents from applying for or receiving disaster assistance from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"A federal grant will not add to taxable income, as long as the grant is given as assistance to recover from a disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner. "This means that receiving disaster aid will not affect Social Security benefits."
Additionally, FEMA assistance will not impact income levels affecting an individual's eligibility for Medicaid or food stamps. FEMA grants do not have to be repaid by the recipient. Those who suffered damage and losses as a result of the recent severe storms and floods in the state do not have to choose between social service benefits and FEMA disaster assistance.
Everyone affected by the severe storms and floods should register with FEMA to find out about services that may be available to them. To register for federal and state assistance, call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY call 1-800-462-7585, or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362. Lines are open 24-hours, daily until further notice. Disaster victims may also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by smartphone at m.fema.gov.
After applying with FEMA, disaster victims may receive, in the mail, a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Application. To be considered for other forms of disaster assistance, it is important to complete and submit the SBA application.
Those who receive a disaster loan application, and have questions, can contact SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. They also can go to any disaster recovery center to get help filling out the application.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA disaster loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY call 1-800-462-7585; or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362.