Disaster Legal Services

The Disaster Legal Services Program (DLS) supports the NPG Mission Area of Recovery and the specific capability targets of economic recovery and health and social services. DLS accomplishes this by providing legal assistance to low-income individuals who, prior to or as a result of a Presidentially declared disaster, are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their disaster-related needs.

Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Types of Assistance
Direct Payments for Specified Use
Uses and Use Restrictions
The Disaster Legal Services program provides free legal advice for individuals impacted by a Presidentially-declared major disaster that includes Individual Assistance. Legal advice is limited to cases that do not produce a fee. This free legal advice includes assistance with insurance claims; counseling on landlord/tenant problems; assistance with home repair contracts; assistance in consumer protection matters; counseling on mortgage foreclosure problems; replacement of wills and other important legal documents; drafting powers of attorney; estate administration; preparation of guardianships and conservatorships; and referrals to local and State agencies for additional assistance.
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Section 416, Public Law 93-288, 42 U.S.C 5182.
Eligibility Requirements
Applicant Eligibility
FEMA enters into a contract with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division to cover the administrative costs of implementing and managing the Disaster Legal Services program.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Service provision is geared toward low-income individuals who, prior to or because of the disaster, are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their disaster-related needs.
No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.
Application and Award Process
Preapplication Coordination
Preapplication coordination is not applicable. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. FEMA makes a formal request to the National Director of the Disaster Legal Services (DLS) program indicating the intent to implement the DLS program.
Award Procedure
Administrative funds are made available through a contractual agreement as outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement between FEMA and the American Bar Association on behalf of its Young Lawyers Division.
Not Applicable.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The length of the program is generally tied to the need for services and varies with each disaster. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Payment based on Project need.
Post Assistance Requirements
Volunteer attorneys submit reports on services and/or advice given to clients. Cash reports are not applicable. Volunteer attorneys submit reports on services and/or advice given to clients. Refer to Program guidance. Refer to Program guidance.
No audits are required for this program.
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: Delivered services to eligible applicants under Presidentially-declared disasters where the program was authorized. Fiscal Year 2015: Deliver Disaster Legal Services Program services to eligible applicants under Presidentially declared disasters where the program has been authorized. Fiscal Year 2016: No Current Data Available.
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Provision of Specialized Services) FY 14 $25,000; FY 15 Estimate Not Available; and FY 16 Estimate Not Available
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Federal Disaster Assistance Regulations, 44 CFR 206.164; and Disaster Legal Services Handbook.
Information Contacts
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices. See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a listing of addresses for FEMA's Regional Offices.
Headquarters Office
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Assistance Directorate 500 C Street, SW, Sixth Floor
, Washington, District of Columbia 20472-3100 Phone: (202) 212-1117
Website Address
Examples of Funded Projects
Not Applicable.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
Not Applicable.
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