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Fact Sheet: FEMA Provides Disaster Legal Services to Disaster Survivors in Puerto Rico

Release date: 
October 16, 2017
Release Number: 
R2 DR 4339-PR FS 008

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized Disaster Legal Services (DLS) to provide free, non-fee generating legal assistance to low-income survivors affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Legal Services hotline number (1-800-310-7029) for Hurricanes Irma and Maria is available Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Central Time, (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time) for both English and Spanish callers. Calls for legal assistance will be forwarded to an attorney. Callers will not be able to speak directly with an attorney over the hotline number.

The following are types of disaster legal assistance local lawyers typically provide:

  • Assistance with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills, property loss, loss of life, etc.;
  • Counseling and advice about landlord/tenant issues;
  • Drafting powers of attorney;
  • Home repair contracts and contractor disputes;
  • Consumer protection matters;
  • Estate administration, including guardianships; and
  • Advocacy for disaster assistance grants from FEMA and other federal agencies.

DLS is provided for survivors of presidentially declared major disasters through a Memorandum of Agreement between FEMA and the Young Lawyer’s Division of the American Bar Association. DLS cases that are received by FEMA are referred to private attorneys through a lawyer referral service.

To apply for disaster assistance, please call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or visit www.disasterassistance.gov.

Residents near downtown Comerío lost everything after La Plata river flooded their homes, as a consequence of the heavy rain brought by Hurricane Maria.
Comerío, PR, September 30, 2017 - Residents near downtown Comerío lost everything after La Plata river flooded their homes, as a consequence of the heavy rain brought by Hurricane Maria. Yuisa Rios/FEMA Download Original

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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 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS - Video Relay Service; TTY: 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters, which can cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and 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.

Follow us at:

www.fema.gov/hurricane-maria

www.facebook.com/femapuertorico

www.twitter.com/femaregion2                    

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 11:59