AUSTIN, Texas – (RealEstateRama) — Texas residents affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in March will not lose Social Security benefits, pay additional taxes, or give up income-based benefit programs if they accept federal or state disaster aid. This includes homeowners, renters and businesses in Erath, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hood, Jasper, Limestone, Marion, Newton, Orange, Parker, Shelby and Tyler counties who register for disaster assistance.
In most cases, the Social Security Administration does not count federal or state disaster aid as income, according to recovery officials from the state of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A few questions that often come up following a disaster declaration are:
Question: I’m between 62 and 65 years of age, and have chosen to receive Social Security benefits. If my income is more than a certain amount each year, I must reimburse a portion of my Social Security payment. Will FEMA grants add to my income and require me to repay Social Security?
Answer: No. FEMA grants for housing and other disaster assistance 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 FEMA grants boost my income and require me to pay tax on my Social Security income?
Answer: No. The IRS does not count FEMA grants for housing and other disaster assistance as income.
Question: Will receiving a grant cause my income to increase to the point that I am no longer eligible for Medicaid, welfare assistance or food stamps?
Answer: No. Grants for housing and other disaster assistance are not counted as income in determining eligibility for income-tested benefit programs that the U.S. government funds.
Apply for assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information on Texas recovery, visit the disaster webpage at fema.gov/disaster/4266, Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion6 and the Texas Division of Emergency Management website, txdps.state.tx.us/dem.
Visit fema.gov/texas-disaster-mitigation for publications and reference material on rebuilding and repairing safer and stronger.