CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- West Virginians who receive disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the recent tornadoes and flooding will not pay additional income taxes, see any reduction in their Social Security checks or any other federal benefits.
Disaster assistance for temporary housing, home repair, repair or replacement of personal property or for other needs does not count as income, FEMA officials said. Disaster relief payments from the government or donations from charitable organizations will not affect Social Security payments or Medicare benefits.
Eligibility for assistance is not dependent on income. The determination on the amount of disaster assistance an eligible applicant receives is based on the amount of loss and damages incurred as a direct result of the recent storms and flooding and the amount of their insurance settlement, if any.
Those who have experienced damage from the storms may be eligible for FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. This may cover expenses for temporary housing, home repairs, replacement of damaged personal property and other disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental or transportation costs not covered by insurance or other programs.
The only way to know if you are eligible for disaster assistance is to register with FEMA. By phone, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. People with hearing disabilities can use the TTY number, 800-462-7585. Applicants also can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or with any web-enabled mobile device or smartphone at m.fema.gov. Follow the link to “Apply for Federal Assistance.”
Applicants may visit the Disaster Recovery Center after they register with FEMA. The only West Virginia Disaster Recovery Center currently in operation is in Logan County at the Verdunville Volunteer Fire Department at 2270 Mud Fork Road in the city of Logan. The center will be open until noon, Friday, May 11.
The center is staffed with disaster recovery specialists who can provide information and answer questions about disaster-related assistance, according to FEMA and state officials.
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.