Disaster News


Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

Federal Emergency Management Agency

July 12, 2010

Joint Field Office: Oklahoma City, OK

FEMA News Desk:  405-879-2442

OEM PIO, Michelann Ooten:  405-521-2481 (office); 405-205-1879 (cell)


OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma senior citizens needn’t worry that applying for, or receiving, state and federal disaster assistance will cause them to sacrifice their Social Security benefits, pay more taxes or give up income-based benefit programs.

As with all survivors, seniors in Carter, Cleveland, Creek, Garvin, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties may be eligible for assistance if they sustained property damage during the May 10-13 storms and tornadoes.

“Don’t be afraid to apply for assistance. It won’t affect your taxable income,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton. “Seniors do not have to give up Social Security benefits to receive disaster assistance.”

Additionally, applying for state/federal assistance does not affect a person’s eligibility for Medicaid, welfare assistance or food stamps. Recipients do not have to repay FEMA grants.

“Seniors won’t have to miss out on life-sustaining programs just to receive disaster funds,” said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. “They will still be able to receive their benefits.”

Survivors can call FEMA to register for assistance or find out more about housing grants and other programs at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Disaster survivors may also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. The deadline to apply for assistance is July 23, 2010.

Survivors may also receive a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application. It is vital that seniors fill out the loan application even if they are not interested in getting a loan or think that they may not qualify. Completing the application ensures that Oklahomans may be considered for other forms of disaster assistance.

Seniors who receive a disaster loan application and have questions can contact SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.  

For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) site at www.oem.ok.gov or follow OEM on Twitter at http://twitter.com/okem. Users of smart phones and other mobile devices can visit m.fema.gov.

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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-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.


The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against emergencies and disasters. The department delivers service to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through a network of more than 350 local emergency managers.


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.

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, non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.


These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call the Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).