FRANKFORT, Ky. -- According to the Kentucky Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, one of the main reasons survivors do not register for disaster assistance is because they think it affects other benefits they receive.
"If you receive FEMA and Commonwealth disaster assistance, it does not affect your Social Security benefits," said John Heltzel, director of Kentucky Emergency Management and commonwealth coordinating officer for Kentucky. "As well, the assistance is not taxable."
The determination on the amount of disaster assistance an eligible applicant receives is based on the amount of loss and damages incurred by the storm and the amount of their insurance settlement.Eligibility for assistance is not dependent on income.
"Regardless of how much money you make, if you live in Bell, Knox or Perry County and were affected by the June storm, you should register with FEMA," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer W. M. Moore. "And we want to make sure people know that if they are eligible for disaster assistance, the money does not have to be repaid as long as it is properly spent for your disaster recovery."
The only way to know if you are eligible for disaster assistance is to register with FEMA. Register by calling 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual. Calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT.
Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. By smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov. FEMA's App for android phones can be downloaded at market.android.com/details?id=gov.fema.mobile.android.
Some FEMA applicants may receive a U.S. Small Business Administration application in the mail. Fill out and return the application as soon as possible. It is not a requirement to take out a low-interest loan if one is offered, but the application is important to the recovery process because it can help to determine if an applicant is eligible for additional disaster funds.
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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 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
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 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.
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.