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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

Resources Affected by a Disaster

2162. Resources Affected by a Disaster

2162.1 What is considered a "major disaster"?

A "major disaster" is one declared by the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (formerly the Disaster Relief Act of 1974).

2162.2 What resource exclusions apply when there is a disaster?

When a major disaster occurs, any assistance you receive from any of the following is excluded from resources:

  1. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act;

  2. Any other Federal statute because of the disaster;

  3. Comparable assistance received from a State or local government or;

  4. A disaster assistance organization.

Any interest earned on assistance described in (A)-(D) above is also excluded.

2162.3 What if something happens to an excluded resource?

If an excluded resource is lost, damaged, or stolen, cash or in-kind replacement from any source is excluded from resources. Under this exclusion, "cash" includes any interest earned on the cash. Both cash received and interest earned can be excluded for up to nine months (which can be extended to 18 months for good cause) from the date of receipt.

Note: For victims of disasters declared by the president, if good cause is shown, the exclusion may be extended for up to 12 additional months beyond the nine-month extension for good cause for a total of up to 30 months.

Last Revised: Feb. 1, 2008

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