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At Boing Boing yesterday: FEMA to Mac, Linux users: drop dead.

Bottom line: if you’re not using Windows + IE, it appears that you won’t be able to file a disaster assistance claim on

A Javascript enabled browser is another requirement. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers federal aid to disaster areas in the United States, such as the recent Katrina hurricane disaster.

The Online registration requires Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6.0 or above. If you do not have Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, you may still be able to access the Individual Assistance Center where you can check the status of your application and update your information.

Also visit FEMA Registration Requirements (FAQ) for more information.

There are a few comments that follow the Boing Boing entry, where users have been able to access the process using Opera, or Firefox with a user agent switching extension to emulate Internet Explorer, however, in a better situation, none of this should be necessary if the process were available to a wide variety of users and browsers. The last thing a disaster victim wants to worry about or figure out is how to manipulate their computer browser in order to apply for aid.

Software requirements are not the only problem for users or victims, however. If a blind or low vision user, or a person accesses the site with a device that does not display images and tries to start the registration process, the first item they will encounter is a captcha when they visit the *Register for Assistance* link . Captcha is server generated characters in picture format that must be entered and submitted before the application process begins. Users that cannot see or make out these images will not be able to enter the characters into the form. Applications are not accepted via mail. Information packets can be mailed to the applicants, though are mail services or mailing addresses available for displaced victims? More information found at FEMA: Registration Requirements.

The FEMA agency website has a published Section 508 Accessibility Statement.

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