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Services Available for Hurricane Irma and Maria Survivors with Disabilities, Access Needs

Release date: 
October 26, 2017
Release Number: 
R2 DR 4339-PR NR 034

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –There are many resources available to survivors with disabilities or access and functional needs when applying for assistance at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC).

DRCs are locations where survivors can meet face-to-face with representatives from Puerto Rico and local government, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and other agencies, to get answers to their questions. They also can get help in applying for federal disaster assistance.

The centers are equipped with accessibility kits that offer accommodations to meet the needs of the entire community, including people with disabilities and other access and functional needs.

FEMA can provide sign language interpreters and materials in formats like Braille, large print and digital, upon request. Telephones that display text and listening devices for people with hearing loss are available as well. Magnifiers are available for those with vision loss. Wheelchairs are available upon request.

In addition to accommodating survivors with disabilities, FEMA also reaches out to people with limited English proficiency by providing multilingual operators, making printed information available in multiple languages and having translators available in the field. Information on the registration process is also available in American Sign Language (ASL) at ASL interpreters are also available on request, by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY).

To locate the nearest center, use the FEMA mobile app, visit or call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY).

You may apply for assistance online at or visit a DRC. Survivors may also register by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). The best time to call is in the morning or evening when call volume may be lower. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.

FEMA representatives provide local residents with financial aid
Humacao, Puerto Rico -- FEMA representatives provide local residents with financial aid, small business loans and other support programs at the Disaster Recovery Center in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Download Original

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, call 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.

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Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 11:58