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Disaster aid is help, not taxed income

Lafayette County has seen its share of wind and rain but it has not seen widespread destruction this year to the point it is necessary to be declared a disaster area.

While surrounding counties and their residents have qualified for state and federal help through the Mississippi and federal emergency management agencies, we have been blessed.

Our tax dollars, both federal and state, are going to help our neighbors in Mississippi. So far, FEMA has awarded $5.8 million in disaster assistance to Mississippians affected by the weather systems that rolled through from March 9 through March 29 in 17 counties.

One piece of good news FEMA and MEMA released this week was that disaster assistance for temporary housing, essential home repairs, replacement of personal property or for other serious needs does not count as taxable income.

Therefore, Mississippians affected by the severe storms and flooding who receive federal assistance will not lose Social Security or Medicare benefits, will not pay additional taxes and will not give up income-based benefit programs.

It is unfortunate this was even having to be discussed, and the disaster assistance most definitely should not count as income or be income-based. Let’s help our fellow Mississippians recover and be productive, profitable residents of this state.