PEARL, Miss. – Feelings of loss after a disaster can be compounded by frustration – frustration in dealing with insurance claims, home repair contracts, or drawing up legal documents to replace those lost.
Disaster Legal Services provides legal assistance to low‐income individuals who, as a result of the disaster, are unable to secure adequate legal services. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, provides free legal help for survivors of a presidentially declared major disaster if they are unable to pay.
Disaster legal assistance that local lawyers typically provide covers:
- Help with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills, for loss of property, loss of life.
- Drawing up new wills and other legal papers lost in the disaster.
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors.
- Advice on problems with landlords.
- Preparing powers of attorney.
The Young Lawyers Division of The Mississippi Bar has provided a toll free number, 877-691-6185, that is staffed Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. When staff steps away or during all other hours of the day, a caller may leave their name, and a good daytime contact number. A legal representative will return an applicant’s call as soon as possible.
Legal help in any area of law is only available if the legal issue is directly related to a declared major disaster. Disaster legal advice is limited to cases that will not require a fee.
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 public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and 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.