WARWICK, R.I. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training have added new services to the Disaster Recovery Centers to help Rhode Islanders affected by Hurricane Sandy. These include American Sign Language Interpreters and specialists who can help with applications for disaster unemployment insurance.
As part of its mission to provide equal access to all disaster survivors, FEMA worked with the Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to bring American Sign Language interpreters to Disaster Recovery Centers. They will be at the Centers in Westerly and Middletown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Thursday, December 6.
Other means FEMA uses to enhance access at the Centers include making written materials available with large print or in Braille; offering amplified phones, video relay services and other assistive technology by request; assisting with completion of paperwork and providing physical access to facilities.
To assist with claims for unemployment insurance from anyone who lost work as a result of the disaster, specialists from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training will be at the center in Middletown from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and in Westerly from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday
The Rhode Island Disaster Recovery Centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday - Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Closed on Sunday. Locations are
- Misquamicut Fire Station, 65 Crandall Avenue, Westerly, R.I.
- Middletown Police Station (Community Room), 123 Valley Road, Middletown, R.I.
Rhode Islanders who lost income because of Hurricane Sandy, but are not eligible for the state's regular unemployment benefits program, may qualify for disaster unemployment insurance if they reside in Newport or Washington counties. Also, people who could not travel to their jobs in Washington or Newport counties because of storm-related transportation disruption may be eligible.
It is not necessary to visit a Disaster Recovery Center to register for DUA. A claim can be made by filing online for regular unemployment insurance at www.dlt.ri.gov, with a statement that the reason for the unemployment is due to Hurricane Sandy. However, a visit to a Disaster Recovery Center when a specialist is available offers the opportunity for immediate in-person answers to questions and assistance with the process.
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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for medical and dental expenses, funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.