TN 51 (10-92)
SI 00830.620 Disaster Assistance - Presidentially-Declared Disaster
Social Security Act as amended, Section 1612(a)(2)(A), 1612(b)(11);
20 CFR 416.1124(c)(5); 416.1150
This section addresses presidentially-declared disasters. There are no specific instructions or exclusions addressing other disasters.
At the request of a State governor, the President may declare a major disaster when the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and local governments, and Federal assistance is needed. Disasters include such things as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, landslides, snowstorms, drought, etc.
Assistance provided to victims of a presidentially-declared disaster includes assistance from:
Federal programs and agencies;
joint Federal and State programs;
State or local government programs;
private organizations (e.g., the Red Cross).
1. Support and Maintenance Other Than Repair or Replacement of Property
The value of support and maintenance in cash or in kind is excluded from countable income and the one-third reduction rule does not apply if:
the individual lived in a household which he or she (or he/she and another person) maintained as his/her or their home at the time a catastrophe occurred in the area; and
the President declared the catastrophe a major disaster for purposes of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (formerly the Disaster Relief Act of 1974); and
the individual stopped living in his/her home because of the catastrophe and began to receive support and maintenance within 30 days after the catastrophe; and
the individual receives support and maintenance while living in a residential facility maintained by another person. A residential facility is to be interpreted broadly, including a private household, a shelter, or any other temporary housing arrangement resorted to because of the disaster.
NOTE: The Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments of 1988, effective November 23, 1988, did not include a time limit for the exclusion of disaster assistance. Therefore a limit of 17 months on the exclusion of support and maintenance described above does not apply effective November 23, 1988. See D. below for procedures to follow if a case where the exclusion has expired comes to your attention. For more information regarding In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) Exclusions and Living Arrangement Changes for Presidentially Declared Disasters, see SI 00835.050.
2. Other Disaster Assistance
Assistance (other than support and maintenance described in B.1. above) received under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act or any other Federal statute because of a catastrophe which the President declares to be a major disaster, is excluded from countable income. This includes assistance to repair or replace the individual's own home or other property, and disaster unemployment assistance.
3. Interest Earned
Any interest earned on assistance described in B.2. above is excluded from countable income.
NOTE: The Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments of 1988, effective November 23, 1988, did not include a time limit for the exclusion of disaster assistance. Therefore, the limit of 9 months (with a 9-month extension for good cause) on interest earned on disaster assistance does not apply effective November 23, 1988. See D. below for procedures to follow if a case where the exclusion has expired comes to your attention.
C. Process — verification of presidential declaration
A declaration by the President of a major disaster will be public information, i.e., newspaper, television, radio, and printing in the Federal Register . The Office of the ARC, Programs for the area is responsible for confirming a presidential declaration of a major disaster and the geographic area involved and communicating this information to the FO's involved. (This may be done by means of a regional precedent.)
1. Presidential Declaration - Documentation
When a presidentially-declared disaster has been verified, document the following on an RC:
that it is declared to be a major disaster by the President in accordance with the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act;
the geographic areas included in the declared disaster area;
the fact that the SSI applicant/recipient lived in the declared disaster area and was affected by the disaster; and
the exact date(s) on which the disaster occurred.
NOTE: If a precedent has been established, only document the fact that the SSI applicant/recipient lived in the disaster area and was affected by the disaster.
2. Support and Maintenance
Absent evidence to the contrary:
Accept an individual's allegation that he was affected by the disaster and that he is receiving support and maintenance on a temporary basis as a result.
Assume that a living arrangement change due to a disaster is temporary.
Be alert to situations where an individual reports a change in circumstances (living arrangements, receipt of household items, cash receipts, etc.) which has been brought about by a disaster, but the individual has not reported involvement in the disaster.
3. Reopening of Prior Determinations Where Exclusion Had Expired
If a case comes to your attention where the exclusion of support and maintenance or interest earned on disaster assistance has expired under the pre-1988 rules, reopen the determination and apply the exclusion back to December 1988, subject to the rules of administrative finality.
4. Verification of Assistance Other Than Support and Maintenance
Use documents in the individual's possession, or contact with the source to verify that assistance, other than support and maintenance subject to the exclusion in B.1. above, is provided under a Federal statute and because of the disaster.
Disaster assistance (exclusion from resources), SI 01130.620.