Senior assistance offered
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:59 am
The Messenger, May 26, 2011
Seniors shouldn’t worry about losing Social Security and Medicare benefits if they receive federal disaster assistance as a result of the recent severe storms and flooding, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Disaster assistance grants are not considered taxable income and will not affect Social Security or Medicare.
The first step for seniors or anyone else seeking federal aid is to register with FEMA by phone at 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability may use TTY 800-462-7585. Assistance is also available online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
Seniors and others who apply for FEMA assistance help may receive a loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration. They should be sure to fill it out and return it, according to FEMA. Although no one is obligated to take a loan, those who fail to complete the SBA application may disqualify themselves for other types of assistance.
Even those senior citizens with paid-off mortgages may consider a long-term government loan to help finance the restoration of their homes to pre-disaster condition, according to a FEMA news release.
The SBA offers disaster loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace homes and up to $40,000 to homeowners and renters for personal property losses. Interest rates are as low as 2.69 percent.
In addition to applying for federal aid, those who are insured should file claims with their insurance companies. FEMA cannot provide funding for insured losses.