FEMA Helps People with Disabilities Access Disaster Assistance

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Release date: 
December 13, 2013
Release Number: 
4157-012

Springfield, Ill. –  To help entire communities recover from the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to make sure survivors with disabilities and those with functional needs have equal access to disaster assistance programs.

To achieve this goal, FEMA coordinates efforts with state and local agencies and volunteer organizations to identify needs and locate appropriate resources. FEMA has a Disability Integration Advisor on site in Illinois to coordinate the various elements of the program.

FEMA provides physical access to facilities and reasonable program modifications as needed. For example, brochures are translated into large print, Braille and most languages. Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are accessible to people with disabilities, and assistance is offered to complete forms. Amplified phones, assisted listening devices, captioned phones, magnifiers, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and Video Relay Services (VRS) re available at DRCs. On-site interpreters, including American Sign Language interpreters, are available upon request.

Notify FEMA staff if you need an accommodation during part of the assistance process.

Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, medical waiver programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance.

It is not necessary to visit a DRC to register with FEMA. Individuals can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. People who use 711-Relay or VRS can call 800-621-3362.

Multilingual phone operators are available on the FEMA helpline. Choose Option 2 for Spanish and Option 3 for other languages.

For the latest information on Illinois’ recovery from the Nov. 17 storms, visit FEMA.gov/Disaster/4157. Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, facebook.com/fema and youtube.com/fema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.                                                                     

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.

SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Media Contact: Don Jacks, 304-542-6258

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Last Updated: 
December 17, 2013 - 15:18
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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