Hurricane Sandy survivors receiving Social Security or other government aid have no cause for concern when it comes to how disaster assistance might affect their benefits.
Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, medical waiver programs, welfare assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance.
To be eligible for federal disaster assistance, survivors must first register with FEMA. The process only takes about 20 minutes.
Survivors can register online anytime day or night at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or with a smartphone or other web-enabled device at m.fema.gov. Survivors can also register by phone anytime by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Wait for the English message to finish to reach the multilingual operators.
The deadline to register is Monday, Dec. 31. Registering for disaster assistance with other agencies or organizations does not register survivors for FEMA disaster assistance. Having FEMA flood insurance does not register policyholders for disaster assistance; flood insurance claims are handled separately.
Survivors also may visit a Disaster Recovery Center to speak directly with a FEMA specialist who can answer their questions. For an updated list of DRCs, go to http://go.usa.gov/g2Td.
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 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585.
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 nonprofit 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 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.