Disaster Grants Won't Affect Social Security or Taxes

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Release date: 
June 6, 2013
Release Number: 
4116-IL NR-037

AURORA, Ill. – State and federal disaster assistance is not treated as income and is not taxable. It also does not affect Social Security benefits, nor does it affect a recipient’s eligibility for other federal assistance programs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has so far awarded more than $80.9 million dollars in disaster grants to individuals affected by the Illinois storms of April 16-May 5.  Those grants have paid for temporary housing and other needs, such as personal property loss, medical care, and transportation.  Here are answers to some typically asked questions:

Question:  Will receiving a grant cause my income to increase to the point that I am no longer eligible for Medicaid, or food stamps, or Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF).

Answer:  No.  Grants for housing and Other Needs Assistance are not counted as income in determining eligibility for any income-tested benefit programs that receives U.S. government funds.

Question:  I took my Social Security benefits early.  If I earn more than a certain amount each year, I must repay $1 of my Social Security payment for every $2 I earn.  Will FEMA grants add to my income and require me to repay Social Security?

Answer:  No.  FEMA grants for housing and ONA are not counted as income.

Question:  I’m over 65, but if I earn more than a certain amount, I must pay tax on my Social Security income.  Will a FEMA grant boost my income and require me to pay tax on my Social Security income?

Answer:  No.  Again, the IRS does not count FEMA grants for housing and ONA as income.

It is not necessary to visit a DRC to register with FEMA. Individuals can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. People who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS) can call 800-621-3362. For more information visit the Illinois Disaster website www.fema.gov/disaster/4116.

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.

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Media Contact: 571-408-1835


Last Updated: 
June 6, 2013 - 15:12
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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