Help Seniors and Those With Functional Needs Apply for Disaster Assistance; Aid not a Threat to Other Benefits

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Release date: 
July 21, 2011
Release Number: 

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Seniors and people with disabilities affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding April 19 to June 6, 2011, may need a hand applying for disaster assistance, said state and federal disaster officials.

"We respect the independence of seniors and those with special needs, but urge them to play it safe and register now," said Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner. "The aftermath of a disaster can be especially difficult. They may not be aware of what help is available and, because of that, haven't registered for disaster assistance."

Family members, friends or neighbors can make the call with the affected senior or person with special needs to help them through the registration process.

Registration may be completed online at, by smartphone through, or by calling FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585 directly; to use 711 or video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Multi-language assistance is available. Telephone registration is available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., until further notice.

Disaster assistance grants are not considered taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, and food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

"Concerns about a reduction in Social Security benefits shouldn't keep seniors from applying for federal disaster assistance," said Turner.

Assistance can include Housing Assistance, moving and storage expenses, essential personal property, vehicle repair/replacement, disaster-related medical, dental and funeral expenses.

SBA low-interest disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters also may be eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

It is important to complete the SBA loan package and return it promptly. Survivors are under no obligation to accept the loan if approved. The SBA application is a necessary step in the recovery process and to be considered for other forms of FEMA disaster assistance.

Individual assistance is available to people in 25 Missouri counties: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Howell, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Pemiscot, Pettis, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, St. Louis, Scott, Stoddard, Stone, Taney and Wayne.

Editors Note: For additional information on encouraging Missouri Seniors to register for disaster assistance, contact the following:

Catherine R. Edwards, PhD
Executive Director ma4
Area Agency on Aging

FEMA News Desk

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 ...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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