A legal hotline is now available for people impacted by the Nov. 30, 2018, earthquake in the following areas: Municipality of Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula Borough, and Matanuska-Susitna Borough (additional areas may be designated later).
Earthquake survivors facing legal issues who are unable to afford a lawyer may call the toll-free hotline:
9a.m. – 5p.m. (Monday-Friday)
Callers are to leave a message where they will receive a call back within 24 to 48 hours.
Survivors can also get assistance by visiting a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Text “DRC” and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to locate a Disaster Recovery Center in your area (standard message and data rates apply). Survivors can also visit: https://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers
The type of legal assistance available includes:
- Replacement of identification documents other important destroyed legal documents;
- Assistance with life, medical, and property insurance claims;
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
- Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures;
- Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems;
- Counseling on landlord-tenant problems; and
- Assistance with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors;
The hotline is a partnership between the Alaska Bar Association, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Major Disaster Declaration
On Jan. 31, 2019, a Major Disaster Declaration was issued for the State of Alaska, making federal funding available to individuals and business owners in the Municipality of Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula Borough, and Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
To register with FEMA and apply for assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) seven days a week from 4a.m. to 8p.m. Pacific Time. Applicants should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (i.e. a current telephone number, social security number, and an address to receive mail), insurance coverage, and any other information to help substantiate the loss. Note: if you are eligible for an Individual Assistance grant you are not required to pay back FEMA. There is no income threshold for Individual Assistance grants, but you may be referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a low interest disaster loan, which must be repaid. The deadline to register is April 1, 2019.
When the President declares a major disaster, FEMA, in cooperation with the ABA YLD, establishes a toll-free number for disaster survivors to request legal assistance. Funding for the toll-free line comes from FEMA under the authority of Section 415 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707). The ABA YLD in turn partners with state bars, local bar associations, and legal aid entities to recruit volunteer lawyers in affected areas to handle survivors’ cases.
Hotline Partner Members
American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division – The ABA YLD is the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and the largest voluntary professional membership group in the world.
Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including terrorism.
National Disaster Legal Aid Online – NDLA is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and Pro Bono Net.
United Policyholders – UP is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group that specializes in helping disaster survivors with insurance claim issues. UP also trains case managers and legal aid lawyers to assist clients with insurance and disaster recovery matters.
Alaska Bar Association – The Alaska Bar Association’s mission is available on their website.
Alaska Legal Services Corporation – ALSC is a private non-profit law firm that provides free legal services in civil issues to low-income Alaskans.