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Civil Rights for Disaster Survivors

Reasonable Modifications

Auxiliary Aids and Services

Language Access Services

Getting Started

Know Your Rights

As a disaster survivor, you have the right to fair treatment and equal access to FEMA relief and assistance. The Office of Civil Rights is here to support you by making sure civil rights laws are followed and equitable outcomes are achieved. The Office of Civil Rights provides disaster survivors with:

  • Reasonable modifications to FEMA programs and services;
  • Auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities; and
  • Language access services for individuals whose primary language is not English.

Reasonable Modifications

Disaster survivors can request reasonable modifications when applying for FEMA disaster assistance. Reasonable modifications may include services like building a ramp for a wheelchair user to enter a FEMA home or providing an emergency preparedness brochure in an electronic format.

FEMA provides the following reasonable modifications to meet the needs of disaster survivors:

  • American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation and/or Video Remote Interpretation (VRI);
  • Real-time captioning services;
  • Assistive listening and/or reading devices;
  • Documentation in electronic formats and/or large print; and
  • Physical accessibility components (such as clear paths of travel for wheelchair users and accessible restrooms) for FEMA facilities, including Disaster Recovery Centers.

Auxiliary Aids and Services

Disaster survivors may request auxiliary aids and services when applying for disaster assistance. Auxiliary aids are ways to provide effective communication for people with disabilities. These may include:

  • Electronic formats
  • Sign language and other interpreters
  • Captioning of audio and visual materials
  • Accessible website communications

Language Access Services

Disaster survivors with limited English proficiency can access FEMA interpretation and translation services in multiple languages. You may report a language need when applying for and receiving disaster assistance.

Read FEMA’s Language Access Policy to learn what FEMA is doing to ensure meaningful access to federally conducted and assisted programs and activities.

Getting Started

Start your application for FEMA disaster assistance by:

  • Calling FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362;
  • Visiting DisasterAssistance.gov;
  • Using the FEMA mobile app; or
  • Visiting a local Disaster Recovery Center

During the application process, you can report the interpretation and/or translation services needed to interact with FEMA staff and/or access FEMA programs.

Know Your Rights

If you believe that you or someone you know has been discriminated against, you may file a civil rights complaint:

  • Call the FEMA’s Office of Civil Rights at (833) 285-7448
    • Press 1 for English
    • Press 2 for Spanish
    • Press 3 for other languages
  • Email FEMA-OCR-ECRD@fema.dhs.gov

Your complaint should include:

  • Your name, address, and phone number.
  • Your signature.
  • Name and address of the agency, institution, or department you believe discriminated against you.
  • How, why, and when you believe you were discriminated against.
  • Name(s) of individual(s) whom you allege discriminated against you (if you know who they are).
  • Names of any persons with additional information to support or clarify your allegations.

If you file a complaint on behalf of someone else, please include their name in the complaint.