Information from a FEMA/SBA news release
Missouri residents who find themselves in need of legal advice as a result of the recent storms and floods can get free help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners.
FEMA’s Disaster Legal Services (DLS) program provides free legal assistance to low-income individuals who, prior to or because of the disaster, are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their disaster-related needs. DLS is provided only to survivors of presidentially declared major disasters and is limited to cases that will not produce a fee.
The toll free number for DLS in Missouri is 800-829-4128. Local legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys are available to assist with almost any legal issue that arises from a presidentially-declared major disaster including help with the following types of disaster legal assistance:
- Help with disaster-related health, property, life insurance claims, etc.
- Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors
- Advice on problems with landlords
- Counseling on mortgage and foreclosure problems
- Consumer protections for issues like price gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process
- Assistance securing FEMA benefit claims
- Employment law
- Civil Rights
The program is a joint venture with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Missouri Bar, as well as Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Legal Services of Southern Missouri and Mid-Missouri Legal Services, and National Disaster Legal Aid Online.
The DLS program is for survivors in the 33 Missouri counties designated for federal disaster assistance to individuals: Barry, Barton, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Maries, McDonald, Morgan, Newton, Osage, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster, and Wright.
For breaking news about flood recovery, follow FEMA Region 7 on Twitter at https://twitter.com/femaregion7 and turn on mobile notifications or visit the FEMA web pages dedicated to this disaster at www.fema.gov/disaster/4250.
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.
All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).
The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover 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. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice[at]sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.