Senior Citizens Won’t Lose Benefits If They Receive State, Federal Disaster Aid

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Little Rock, Ark. – Senior citizens who sustained losses in the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and floods needn’t worry that applying for federal disaster assistance will cause them to sacrifice their Social Security benefits, pay more taxes or give up income-based benefit programs.

A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not add to a senior’s taxable income as long as the grant is to help recovery from a disaster like the severe storms.

“Severe storm systems affect everyone,” said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. “We want to reassure Arkansas seniors not to be afraid to apply for state and federal assistance.”

“Receiving disaster funds will not cause anyone to miss out on assistance from other programs,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Timothy J. Scranton with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “We urge seniors who sustained storm damage to go ahead and apply.”

Applying for assistance also does not affect a person’s eligibility for Medicaid, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, supplemental nutrition assistance or other federal programs. Recipients do not have to repay FEMA grants.

Seniors and other survivors who live in Faulkner, Pulaski, Randolph and White counties can register online with FEMA at or via smartphone at  Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. For 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

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