Disaster Assistance
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image of a red square resembling a bullet About Disaster Assistance

Established by federal and state law, the Disaster Assistance Program uses public funds to provide financial assistance to persons and governments victimized by a major disaster. Following an emergency declaration by the President and Governor, state and local disaster assistance programs are made available for those governments and individuals who suffered loss or damage within the designated area.

Individuals & Households Program

The Individuals and Households Program (IHP) allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Commonwealth, to provide financial assistance and direct services to individuals and households that have necessary disaster-related expenses and serious needs that cannot be met through other means. Disaster Assistance programs are not intended to indemnify all disaster losses or to purchase items or services that may be considered as nonessential, luxury, decorative or improvements.The two provisions of the IHP are:
  • Housing Assistance (HA) which is administered by FEMA.
  • Other Needs Assistance (ONA) which is administered by the Commonwealth.

The maximum assistance available for IHP is $27,200 per household. Funding for IHP is 75 percent federal and 25 percent state money. A single registration is used for both provisions of IHP. The standard registration period is 60 days following the date of the major declaration. Registration is made by calling (800) 621-3362, the toll-free FEMA National Processing Center, or for the hearing impaired, at (800) 462-7585 or apply online on the FEMA Web site.

Housing Assistance (HA) Grants

Housing Assistance is provided to disaster applicants displaced from their primary residences. It also covers pre-disaster residences that are deemed uninhabitable and those who have no insurance to provide for their housing needs. Assistance may be available in the following categories:
  1. Permanent housing construction
  2. Repairs
  3. Replacement
  4. Temporary housing

Other Needs Assistance (ONA) Grants

Assistance through ONA is restricted to disaster applicants whose income does not meet the Small Business Administration (SBA) income test, or who have applied for an SBA loan and been denied for a loan. Applicants with insurance may not be eligible. Assistance may be available to meet necessary and serious needs by providing essential items or services in the following categories:
  • Medical, dental and funeral expenses
  • Personal property, transportation and other expenses (including moving and storage, group flood insurance and miscellaneous post-incident expenses)

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