ALBANY, N.Y. – New York state residents facing legal issues arising out of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee can get free legal help through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Legal Services program, FEMA officials announced today.
Disaster Legal Services (DLS) is a federal program operated by the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) providing free legal services to persons affected by presidentially declared major disasters. Disaster Legal Services can help survivors with bankruptcy, civil rights, employment law, landlord-tenant law, FEMA benefits claims, wills, trusts and probate matters, among other issues potentially arising from disaster.
Any person affected by Irene or Lee who does not have the means to hire a lawyer is eligible. Call the Disaster Legal Services Hotline at 1-800-342-3661. The service is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Callers will be connected with attorneys who can provide over-the-phone assistance. When needed, callers will be referred to attorneys who can provide legal representation free of charge. All calls are completely confidential.
In the last four years, the DLS program has provided legal help to more than 100,000 people affected by major disasters. The program is sponsored by the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association under an agreement with FEMA.
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.