Issues in Disaster Recovery and Assistance
Donatien Moïse (Editor)
Series: Natural Disaster Research, Prediction and Mitigation
In both 2016 and 2017, 15 separate U.S. disasters resulted in losses exceeding $1 billion each. FEMA provides PA grants to state and local governments to help communities recover from such disasters. If applicants disagree with FEMA’s decision on their PA grant application, they have two chances to appeal: a first-level appeal to be decided by the relevant FEMA regional office and, if denied, a second-level appeal to be decided within FEMA’s Recovery Directorate. Chapter 1 examines the extent to which FEMA ensures the quality of its appeals data and what these data show about PA appeals inventory and timeliness; what steps FEMA has taken to improve its management of the appeals process and what challenges, if any, remain; and the extent to which FEMA developed goals and measures to assess program performance.
Chapter 2 provides a short summary of the types of individual assistance programs administered by FEMA following a disaster. It also provides a summary of the criteria FEMA uses in determining which individual assistance programs may be made available to impacted areas following a major disaster declaration, and discusses a proposed rule to change these criteria.
FEMA’s IA program provides help to individuals to meet their immediate needs after a disaster, such as shelter and medical expenses. Chapter 3 examines the number of IA declaration requests received, declared, and denied, and IA actual obligations from calendar years 2008 through 2016, the extent to which FEMA accounts for the regulatory factors when evaluating IA requests, and any challenges FEMA regions and select states reported on the declaration process and factors and any FEMA actions to revise them.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Individual Assistance (IA) program and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Disaster Loan Program are the federal government’s two primary sources of financial assistance to help individuals and households recover and rebuild from a major disaster as discussed in chapter 4.
Hurricane survivors aged 65 and older and those with disabilities faced particular challenges evacuating to safe shelter, accessing medicine, and obtaining recovery assistance. Chapter 5 addresses challenges FEMA partners reported in providing assistance to such individuals, challenges such individuals faced accessing assistance from FEMA and actions FEMA took to address these challenges, and the extent to which FEMA has implemented its new approach to disability integration.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Disaster Recovery: Additional Actions Would Improve Data Quality and Timeliness of FEMA’s Public Assistance Appeals Processing
Chapter 2. FEMA Individual Assistance Programs: In Brief
Chapter 3. Federal Disaster Assistance: Individual Assistance Requests Often Granted, but FEMA Could Better Document Factors Considered
Chapter 4. FEMA and SBA Disaster Assistance for Individuals and Households: Application Process, Determinations, and Appeals
Bruce R. Lindsay and Shawn Reese
Chapter 5. Disaster Assistance: FEMA Action Needed to Better Support Individuals Who Are Older or Have Disabilities