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No Discrimination in FEMA Disaster Assistance

Release date: 
January 18, 2013
Release Number: 

WINDSOR, Conn. — Storms don’t discriminate and neither does FEMA, federal officials emphasized today.

“Everybody’s circumstances are different and people won’t all be helped the same way. But our promise is to treat everybody equally,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Albert Lewis. “We are not a law enforcement agency; we are a helping agency. That’s why we’re here.”

FEMA has a mission to ensure disaster assistance is made available to all people in the whole community. That means reaching out to everyone, regardless of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.

Those areas are written into federal law as an equal rights statement of policy that permeates FEMA’s approach to providing fully inclusive disaster recovery services.

FEMA may provide assistance in many ways, not all of them financial, to disaster survivors through connections with its state and local partners. But to help survivors, FEMA needs to know who they are through FEMA registration.

FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Liaison works specifically with voluntary and faith-based organizations, which provide case management support for applicants, whether they are citizens or not.

An applicant’s information is confidential. FEMA does not share anyone’s information with other agencies unless an applicant wants us to do so and that agency’s purpose is to provide assistance to those in need after a disaster.

“Disaster recovery includes everyone,” Lewis added. “The individual, the community, FEMA, the state, voluntary agencies and faith-based partners—everyone has a role. We may not be able to help you directly, but we’ll know what’s available. There may be other programs to get you where you want to go.”

The deadline to register is Jan. 28. 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 24 hours a day at 800-621-3362. Effective at 7 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, hours will be 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. the following day. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators are available during the same hours at the close of the English message.

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, nor does it disqualify anyone from applying for 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.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

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: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:09