FEMA Accessible: Assisting Applicants with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs

FEMA Accessible: Assisting Applicants with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs


Hi. My name is Chris Smith and I serve as the director of the Individual Assistance Division for FEMA. FEMA’s goal is to ensure that all citizens
have equal access to all of our programs. It can be challenging for people with disabilities
and others with access or functional needs to apply for disaster assistance. During the registration process,
FEMA will ask questions to determine if members of your household have
a disability or access or functional need. It is a high priority in ensuring survivors
get the support needed. It is important that you answer these questions
so that reasonable accommodations like sign language interpreter, materials in Braille or large print, temporary sheltering assistance or
direct housing assistance, critical needs like walkers,
wheelchairs, CPAP machines, or other needs assistance that includes medical,
dental, or funeral expenses may be provided. If you are having a hard time understanding any of the questions during the registration process, we have people who can help. We can send a team to your home
to specifically assist you, someone who can help you
at a local disaster recovery center, or you can call the FEMA Helpline. If you have a disability or
an access and functional need, please answer “Yes” to these registration question when you are asked. Did you, your co-applicant, or any dependents have help or support doing things like walking, seeing, hearing, or taking care of yourself
before the disaster and have you lost that help or support because of the disaster? Maybe you wear glasses, use an assistive listening
device, use an adaptive mobility device, or have cognitive/emotional needs? If you’ve lost any of these things or support
that helps you function every day and you don’t answer yes to this question, we can’t help you because we don’t know
that you need our help. After you’ve answered yes to that question, we will ask additional questions to clarify your needs. For example You stated that you or a household member
has a disability that was affected by the disaster. Please choose from the following: Mobility Cognitive/Developmental Disabilities/Mental Health Hearing or Speech Vision or Other To help us identify what kind of assistance
your family may need, let us know if any of these things are needed: For a mobility disability, do you need a wheelchair, walker, cane, chair lift, bath chair, or a personal care attendant? For a cognitive/developmental disability/mental
health, do you need a personal care attendant
or other type of assistance? For a hearing or speech disability,
do you need a hearing aid, sign language interpreter, TTY, or text messaging and, or some other communication device
to be able to effectively communicate? For a vision disability, do you need glasses, a white cane, service animal, Braille or other accessible communication devices, or a magnifier to help you see and read things? If you have another type of disability we
have not asked you about, let us know what assistance you need
to help you stay independent and safe. FEMA is committed to making sure that people with disabilities or others with access or functional needs get the right support and service they need to make a full recovery from the recent disaster.

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