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FEMA Breaks Down Barriers to Disaster Assistance

Release date: 
December 27, 2012
Release Number: 

WINDSOR, Conn. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is breaking down barriers so all people have full access to disaster assistance.

“We’re reaching out to the whole community,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Albert Lewis. “FEMA is working to make sure that everyone in the community can get access to disaster assistance information, programs and registration.”

After the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, FEMA created a team of disability integration specialists/advisors, who ensure recovery assistance is accessible and inclusive.

For example, interpreters for deaf people, who use American Sign Language, have been available in Hurricane Sandy Disaster Recovery Centers in Connecticut.

In addition, FEMA equipped each center with accessibility kits to ensure all people have full access to FEMA information and assistance programs. The kits include devices to help people with a range of needs for mobility, sensory, physical or other impairments.

Also, FEMA reaches out to people with limited English proficiency by providing multilingual operators, making printed literature available in multiple languages and having translators available in the field.

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

Disaster survivors can register online anytime day or night at, or with a smartphone or other Web-enabled device at Survivors can also register by phone anytime by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Wait for the English message to finish to reach multilingual operators.

Registering for disaster assistance with other agencies or organizations does not register survivors for FEMA disaster assistance. Having FEMA flood insurance does not register policyholders for disaster assistance; flood insurance claims are handled separately.

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 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585.

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.

Last Updated: 
December 28, 2012 - 08:46
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