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Receiving Disaster Aid Does Not Result in Loss of Social Security Benefits

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-11-09 - Recipients of FEMA disaster assistance grants do not pay additional tax lose their Social Security or disability benefits or face reduction in benefits. For further information pertaining to this article contact: FEMA.

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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.

Recipients of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance grants do not pay additional taxes, lose their Social Security or disability benefits, or face a reduction in benefits from any other income-based program.

FEMA grants do not add to taxable income, as long as a grant is given as assistance to recover from a disaster. (FEMA disaster aid is not considered additional income by the Internal Revenue Service.)

Receiving a FEMA grant will not affect Social Security or disability benefits. Disaster grants will not cause a recipient to become ineligible for Medicaid, welfare assistance, food stamps, or Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

Disaster survivors do not have to choose between their social benefits and FEMA disaster assistance.

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid.

Iowa residents receiving Social Security or other governmental benefits, who were affected by the springtime flooding in Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, and Pottawattamie counties, should register with FEMA to find out about disaster assistance and other services that may be available to them.

There are a variety of ways to register for disaster assistance:

Call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362);

Applicants with a speech disability or hearing loss can use TTY 1-800-462-7585;

Or call 711, or use Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362;

Disaster survivors may also register online at;

Or register by Smartphone at;

Senior and disabled applicants, who need help registering, should not hesitate to contact FEMA to ask for assistance.

FEMA registration lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Last day to register for disaster assistance is December 19, 2011.

After applying with FEMA, disaster survivors may receive, in the mail, a U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Application. (SBA offers disaster loans to repair or replace damaged real estate, personal property and business assets not covered by insurance or other aid. For small businesses only, SBA offers disaster loans to cover working capital needs caused by the disaster.)

To be considered for other forms of disaster assistance, it is important to complete and submit the SBA application.

For information about SBA's disaster loan program, applicants may call 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 or visit

FEMA and SBA representatives are available at the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) to answer questions, help with FEMA registration, SBA loan applications, and provide recovery information:

Pottawattamie County
American Red Cross
Human Services Campus
705 N. 16th Street
Council Bluffs, Ia. 51501

Fremont County
Emergency Operations Center
2014 290th Avenue
Sidney, Ia. 51652

Monona County
Public Safety Office
909 7th Street
Onawa, Ia. 51040

Related Information:

  1. Natural Disasters Warnings and Alerts for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities - Warnings and Alerts for Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Natural Disaster Advisories for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities.
  2. Seniors and Federal Disaster Assistance - What Seniors Should Know About Federal Disaster Assistance - FEMA grants will not affect Social Security or other benefits.

Information from our Disaster & Emergency Planning: Seniors & Disabled section - (Full List).

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