Quincy, MA -- Seniors and people with disabilities living in seven Massachusetts counties eligible for disaster assistance as a result of severe storms and flooding between March 5 and April 16 may need extra help in receiving assistance.
"Disaster conditions can create special hardships for seniors and complications for people with disabilities," said Louis H. Botta, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official who is the federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery. "They may not have registered for disaster assistance or know how to register, and they may need extra help in getting the particular assistance they need."
"Providing applicant assistance is an integral part of the state and federal effort to help all individuals in the wake of a disaster," said Stephen J. McGrail, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the state coordinating officer.
As of April 26, there were 51 requests for special assistance from residents of Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties who are eligible under President Bush's April 10 disaster declaration.
"Individuals with special hardships because of age or disability should tell the FEMA representative who answers the toll-free registration number - 1-800-462-9029," Botta said. FEMA also has a TTY number - 1-800-462-7585 - for applicants who are speech - or hearing-impaired.
Identification of those needing additional assistance also comes from housing inspectors, state, local and voluntary agencies working during a disaster. Staff members assist those with special needs by answering questions about the assistance process and coordinating with other agencies that can help.