The Declaration Process
The Stafford Act required that “All request for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the Governor of the effected State”.
The request by the State for a declaration is made through the regional FEMA office. State and Federal officials conduct a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) to estimate the extent of the disaster and its impact on individuals and public facilities. This information is included in the Governor’s request to show that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the local governments and that Federal assistance is necessary. Normally, the PDA is completed prior to the submission of the Governor’s request. However, when an obviously severe or catastrophic event occurs, the Governor’s request may be submitted prior to the PDA. Nonetheless, the Governor must still make the request.
Based on the Governor’s request, the President may declare that a major disaster or emergency exists, thus activation an array of Federal program to assist in the response and recovery effort. However, not all programs are activated for every disaster. The determination of which programs are activated is based on the needs found during damage assessment and any subsequent information that may be discovered.
Types of Declarations
FEMA disaster assistance falls into three general categories. Individual Assistance (IA) which is aid to individuals and households; Public Assistance (PA) which is aid to public (and certain private non-profits) entities for certain emergency services and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities; and Hazard Mitigation Assistance which is funding for measures designed to reduce future losses to public and private property. Understand that some declarations will provide only individual assistance or only public assistance. Hazard mitigation opportunities are assessed in most situations.
Disaster assistance is financial or direct assistance to individuals and families whose property has been damaged or destroyed as a result of a federally-declared disaster, and whose losses are not covered by insurance. It is meant to help you with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster.
While some housing funds are available through the FEMA individuals and Households Program, most disaster assistance from the Federal government is in the form of loans administered by the Small Business Administration. Additional forms of assistance offered by the Federal government can be found on disasterassistance.gov
The mission of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program is to provide assistance to State, Tribal and local governments, and certain types of Private Nonprofit organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President. Through the PA Program, FEMA provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations. The PA Program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.
What is Hazard Mitigation Assistance?
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. The HMGP is authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
Eligible Applicants and/or Subapplicants include: State and local governments and some private non-profit organizations.
Individual Assistance (IA)
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC)
A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is a readily accessible facility or mobile office where applications may go for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance program, apply for disaster assistance or to ask questions about their case. Usually, DRCs are located near a disaster impacted areas. A DRC is staffed with specialists from FEMA, the State Emergency Management Division, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and a variety of disaster recovery representatives from local and voluntary agencies. In Horry County we treat these sites as a one-stop-shop and will work to provide additional services for the needs of residents impacted from a disaster.
Some of the services that may be provided at a DRC are:
- Guidance regarding disaster recovery
- Clarification of any written correspondence received
- Housing Assistance and Rental Resource information
- Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provider further assistance
- Status of applications being processed by FEMA
- SBA program information, if there is an SBA Representative at the Disaster Recovery Center
- VOAD representatives to help provide various assistance
- County Department representatives as necessary and determinant upon the community needs following a disaster.
If you are applying for FEMA disaster assistance you do not have to visit a DRC site to apply. Additional ways you can register with FEMA before visiting a DRC can be accomplished online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration and helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY800-462-7585.If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT. You can also register by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov.
Individual and Households Program (IHP) More Information
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) can loan money to homeowners, renters, and business owners. However, the SBA may not duplicate benefits from your insurance or FEMA. You may receive an SBA referral when you apply with FEMA.
Questions about SBA loans should be directed to the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can contact them at 1-800-659-2955 from 8AM - 9PM (EDT), Mon - Fri or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Assistance (PA)
The objective of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program is to provide assistance to state, tribal, and local governments and certain types of private non-profit organization so that communities can quickly respond to and recovery from major disasters or emergencies declared by the president. This program is managed by and through the State of South Carolina.
Through the Public Assistance grant Program, FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures. In addition, grant assistance may be provided for the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly-owned facilities and the facilities of certain private non-profit (PNP) organizations. To be eligible for assistance from this grant program, prospective applicants must fill out a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) through the State of South Carolina. A series of meetings take place following a disaster the first being the Public Assistance Applicant’s Briefing. The FEMA Public Assistance Grant Program also encourage protection of the damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance through the hazard mitigation grant program (HMGP) to utilize mitigation measures during the recovery process. In accordance with the
Public Assistance: Preliminary Damage Assessment
The Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) is a joint assessment used to determine the magnitude and impact of an event's damage. A FEMA/State team will usually visit local applicants and view their damage first-hand to assess the scope of damage and estimate repair costs. The State uses the results of the PDA to determine if the situation is beyond the combined capabilities of the State and local resources and to verify the need for supplemental Federal assistance. The PDA also identifies any unmet needs that may require immediate attention.