The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288), was enacted to support state and local governments and their citizens when disasters overwhelm them. This law establishes an Emergency Declaration process for states to use when requesting federal assistance; defines the type and scope of assistance potentially available under the Stafford Act; and sets the conditions for obtaining that assistance.
Types of Assistance Available
Not all federal assistance programs are activated for every disaster. Specific programs are activated based on needs found during the joint Preliminary Damage Assessment and subsequent information that may be discovered.
Federal disaster assistance under a major disaster declaration falls into three general categories:
Public Assistance - aid to government and certain private non-profit entities for eligible costs associated with specified emergency services and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged public facilities.
Business and Non-Profit Assistance
Individual Assistance provides aid to individuals, families and business owners, including:
- Temporary Housing Assistance Program
- Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG)
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
- Legal Services
- Special Tax Considerations
- Crisis Counseling
More information is available at FEMA's website
There are provisions for federal Hazard Mitigation Assistance designed to fund measures designed to reduce future losses to public and private property. Under a major disaster declaration, all counties within the declared state are eligible to apply for Hazard Mitigation grants.
Disaster Assistance Links
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