The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing information regarding free legal services to winter storm survivors impacted by the February winter storms.
1. Who is eligible for the service?
Oklahomans living in the 16 designated counties that were impacted during the February severe winter storms, including Pittsburg County, who need legal assistance but cannot afford an attorney can call the Disaster Legal Services hotline.
2. What is the phone number to call and when is assistance available?
The phone number for the legal assistance hotline is 1-800-522-8065 and is available from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays. The Disaster Legal Services attorneys are not FEMA employees and services are confidential. You can call 2-1-1 outside of those hours.
When you call, explain that you are seeking assistance related to the Oklahoma winter storms that began Feb. 11 and provide your contact information, so an attorney can contact you.
3. What subjects are covered?
Attorneys can answer questions about:
• Home-repair contracts and contractors.
• Life, medical and property insurance claims.
• Applying to FEMA and appealing FEMA decisions.
4. What else is included?
Legal assistance can also include:
• Getting a new will and other important legal documents lost or destroyed.
• Consumer-protection issues like price gouging.
• Advice on avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process.
• Receiving other available government benefits.
• Landlord-tenant issues.
• Mortgage foreclosures.
5. Who is providing the hotline?
The hotline is a partnership between Oklahoma Bar Association, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., and Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, Inc.
As a reminder, if you are a homeowner or renter who sustained damage in one of the 16 Oklahoma counties designated for individual assistance you should apply for disaster assistance with FEMA. The counties are Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Comanche, Cotton, Hughes, Jefferson, Le Flore, McIntosh, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Pittsburg, Stephens, Tulsa and Wagoner.
The easiest way to apply is by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov. There is no wait to register online and it is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If it is not possible to register online, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The toll-free telephone lines operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to businesses, homeowners and renters. Call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.