Individual & Households Program

(Recovery) Individual’s And Households Program (IHP)

When disasters take place, the individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides money and services to people in the disaster area when losses are not covered by insurance and property has been damaged and destroyed.



IHP will not cover all your losses from damage to your property (home, personal property, household goods) that resulted from the disaster. IHP is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster. In some cases, IHP may only provide enough money, up to the program limits, for you to return an item to service. IHP does not cover business related losses that resulted from the disaster. By law, IHP cannot provide money to you for losses that are covered by your insurance. While some money is available through IHP, most disaster aid from the Federal government is in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that must be repaid. Applicants to IHP may be required to seek help from SBA first, before being considered for certain types of IHP assistance.


Types of Assistance: The following list shows the types of assistance that are available through IHP and what each provides.

  • Temporary Housing — (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.
  • Repair — Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
  • Replacement — Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
  • Permanent Housing Construction — Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
  • Other Needs — Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses that are authorized by law.

Disaster Assistance Process: To be used by people in a Presidential declared disaster areas:

  • Apply online by visiting and clicking on the "Online Individual Assistance Center" or by phone by calling 1–800–621–FEMA (3362) (hearing/speech impaired ONLY — call 1-800-462-7585). In addition to having pen and paper, have the following information ready to give to the person who takes your call:When you apply over the phone, the information you provide is put into the computer and an application is generated. As this point you will be provided a FEMA application number. If you have questions AFTER you have applied for assistance or if the information you provided has changed, call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (hearing/speech impaired ONLY ? call 1-800-462-7585. When you call, have your application number ready. This number will be given to you when you apply and will be on all mail sent to you from IHP.
    • Your Social Security Number
    • A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster
    • Insurance Information
    • Directions to your damaged property
    • A telephone number where you can be contacted
  • Within about 10 days after you have applied for help, if an inspection is required to process your application, an inspector will contact you to make an appointment to visit your property. The inspector will contact you within 10 days of your application. There is no fee for the inspection. You must be present for your scheduled appointment. You must have proof of ownership and occupancy to show the inspector.
    • Proof of ownership (your deed, tax records, mortgage payment book, or a copy of your dwellings insurance policy for the address, showing you as the owner.
    • Proof of occupancy (your driver’s license address, any first-class government mail sent to you within the last 3 months at that address, or recent utility bills in your name at that address.
      The inspector will ask you to sign a form authorizing FEMA to verify that the information you have given is correct. Inspectors file your report but do not determine your eligibility.
  • Within about 10 days of the inspector’s visit, you will receive a letter from IHP informing you of the decision on your request for help.
    • If you are eligible for help, the letter will be followed by a U.S. Treasury/State check or there will be a transfer of cash to your bank account. The letter will explain what the money can be used for. You should use the money given to you as explained in the letter.
    • If you are not eligible for help, the letter will give you the reason for the decision. You will be informed of your appeal rights in the letter from FEMA.
    • If you were referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for help from the SBA Disaster Assistance Program, you will receive a SBA application.

Eligibility — To receive money or help for Housing Needs that are the result of a disaster, all of the following must be true:

  • You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President.
  • You have filed for insurance benefits and the damaged to your property is not covered by your insurance. You may be eligible for help from IHP to repair damage to your property.
  • You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
  • Your home is in an area that has been declared a disaster by the President.
  • The home in the disaster area is where you usually live and where yiou were living at the time of the disaster.
  • You are not able to live in your home now, you cannot get to your hone due to the disaster, or your home requires repairs because of damage from the disaster.

To receive money for Other than Housing Needs that are the result of a disaster, all of the following must be true:

  • You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President.
  • You have filed for insurance benefits and the damage to your property is not covered by your insurance. You may be eligible for help from IHP to repair damage to your property.
  • You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
  • You have necessary expenses or serious needs because of the disaster.
  • You have accepted assistance from all other sources for which you are eligible, such as insurance proceeds or SBA loans.

You may not be eligible for money or help from IHP if:

  • You have other, adequate rent-free housing that you can use (for example, rental property that is not occupied).
  • Your home that was damaged is your secondary or vacation residence.
  • Your expenses resulted only from leaving your home as a precaution and you were able to return to your home immediately after the incident.
  • You have refused assistance from your insurance provider.
  • Your only losses is business losses (including farm business other than the farmhouse and self-employment) or items not covered by this program.
  • The damaged home where you live is located in a designated flood hazard area and your community is not participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. In this case, the flood damage to your home would not be covered, but you may qualify for rental assistance or items not covered by flood insurance, such as water wells, septic systems, medical, dental, or funeral expenses.

Types of Eligible Losses:

IHP only covers repair or replacement of items that are damaged as a direct result of the disaster that are not covered by insurance. Repairs or rebuilding may not improve your home above its pre-disaster condition unless such improvements are required by building codes. Housing needs: Money to repair your home is limited to making your home safe and sanitary so you can live there. IHP will not pay to return your home to its condition before the disaster. You may use your money provided for housing needs to repair:

  • Structural parts of your home (foundation, outside walls, roof).
  • Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinetry.
  • Septic or sewage system.
  • Well or other water system.
  • Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system
  • Utilities (electrical, plumbing, and gas systems).
  • Entrance and exit ways from your home, including privately owned access roads.
  • Blocking, leveling, and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical and fuel lines, and tanks

Other than Housing Needs:

Money to repair damaged personal property, or to pay for disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs is limited to items or services that help prevent or overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury, or adverse condition. IHP will not pay to return or replace your personal property to its condition before the disaster. You may use your money provided for other than housing needs to repair or pay for:

  • Disaster related medical and dental costs.
  • Disaster related funeral and burial costs.
  • Clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies).
  • Fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas, firewood).
  • Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, air purifier, dehumidifier).
  • Disaster damaged vehicle.
  • Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster-related repairs are being made to the home).
  • Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.

Money received from IHP for Housing and Other than Housing Needs must be used for eligible expenses only, as identified by FEMA.

  • If you do not use the money as explained by FEMA, you may not be eligible for any additional help and may have to give the money back.
  • Is usually limited to up to 18 months from the date the President declares the disaster.
  • Does not have to be repaid.
  • Is tax-free.


For more information on this program please contact:

Arlene Finona
Public Assistance Officer



Public Assistance Program


When natural disasters occur, it is the responsibility of the local government to respond. When efforts are not sufficient to effectively cope with the direct results of the disaster, Federal assistance is available to supplement the local government. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended, (Stafford Act) was designed to do this. The Stafford Act authorizes the President to provide assistance to individuals (Individual Assistance) and to State and local governments as well as certain Private Non-Profit organizations (Public Assistance) to help them respond to and recover from a disaster. The objective of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program (PA) Grant Program is to provide assistance to our local government, and certain types of Private Nonprofit organizations so that our community can 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 objective of the Public Assistance Program is to provide supplemental assistance to states, local governments, and selected nonprofit organizations for the alleviation of suffering and hardship resulting from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President.

The Federal government usually provides 75 percent of the funding with the state or other non-federal source providing the remaining 25 percent (referred to as a cost-share-match).

There are two types of Declarations provided for in the Stafford Act: Emergency Declarations and Major Disaster Declarations. Both declaration types authorize the President to provide Federal disaster assistance. However, the cause of the declaration and type and amount of assistance differ.

  • An Emergency Declaration can be declared for any occasion or instance when the President determines Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States. The amount of emergency assistance is capped at $5 million per single event unless continued assistance is needed to alleviate a threat to lives, public health, and safety.
  • The President can declare a Major Disaster Declaration for any natural event (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought) or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion, that the President believes has caused damage of such severity and magnitude that it is beyond the capabilitiy of the State and disaster relief organizations to respond. A major disaster declaration provides a wide range of Federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work.

Applicant Process:

  • Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) — The Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) is a joint assessment used to determine the magnitude and impact of an event’s damage. The FEMA/State team will 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.
  • Presidential Disaster Declaration — If it is determined that the damage is beyond the recovery capability, the governor will send a request letter to the President, directed through the Regional Director of the appropriate FEMA region. The President then makes the decision whether or not to declare a major disaster or emergency.
  • Applicant Briefing by Grantee — The Applicants briefing if a meeting conducted by the State to inform prospective applicants of available assistance and eligibility requirements for obtaining Federal assistance under the declared event. Applicants will prepare and submit their Requests for Public Assistance form during the briefing.
  • Application Process — The Request for Public Assistance is FEMA’s official application form that public and PNP’s use to apply for disaster assistance (Form 90-49). The request must be submitted to the State Public Assistance Officer within 30 days of the date of declaration.
  • Kick-Off Meeting with Public Assistance Coordinator (PAC) — A Kickoff meeting is held with each applicant to assess the applicant’s individual needs, discuss disaster related damage, and set forth a plan of action for repair of the applicant?s facilities. The liaison will provide State specific details on documentation and reporting requirements.
  • Project Formulation and Cost Estimating — Project formulation is the process of documenting the damage to the facility, identifying the eligible scope of work and estimating the costs associated with that scope of work for each of the applicants projects.
  • Project Review and Validation — The purpose of validation is to confirm the eligibility, compliance, accuracy, and reasonableness of small projects formulated by an applicant, and to ensure that the applicant receives the maximum amount of assistance available under the law.
  • Obligation of Federal Funds and Disbursement to Sub-grantees — FEMA and the Grantee share responsibility for making Public Assistance Program funds available to the sub-grantees. FEMA is responsible for approving projects and making the Federal share of the approved amount available to the Grantee through a process called obligation. Through obligation FEMA notifies the Grantee that the Federal funds are available but reside in a Federal account until the Grantee is ready to award grants to the appropriate sub-grantees.
  • Appeals and Closeout — The appeals process is the opportunity for the applicants to request reconsideration of decisions regarding the provision of assistance. There are two levels of appeal. The first level appeal is to the Regional Director. The second level appeal is to the Assistant Director at FEMA Headquarters. The applicant must file an appeal with the Grantee within 60 days of receipt of a notice of the action that is being appealed. The applicant must provide documentation to support the appeal. This documentation should explain why the applicant believes the original determination is wrong and the amount of adjustment being requested. The purpose of closeout is to certify that all recovery work has been completed, appeals have been resolved and all eligible costs have been reimbursed. Closeout is an important step in the PA process.

The following pages will discuss the PA program in further detail.

  • Who is eligible — The Stafford Act and implementing regulations define eligible applicants as:
    • State government agencies
    • Local governments
    • Political subdivisions, such as special districts
    • Native American and Eskimo tribes
    • Certain Private Nonprofit (PNP) organizations
  • What is eligible — In order for damages to be repaired with PA funds:
    • The property must be located within the disaster area.
    • The damage must be the direct result of the disaster.
    • The facility must be the responsibility of the legal applicant.
    • The agency/owner must not be eligible to receive compensation from another Federal Agency.
  • Eligibility Analysis — There is a four-step eligibility analysis. If any of these criteria are not met, then no funding can be provided.
    • Is the applicant eligible? If not, there is no need to go farther in the analysis.
    • Is the facility eligible? Was it the responsibility of the applicant? Was it in use before the disaster? Is it eligible for repair under the authority of another Federal Agency?
    • Is the work required as a result of the disaster? Is the facility within the designated disaster area? If the facility the legal responsibility of the eligible applicant?
    • Is the cost reasonable and necessary to accomplish the work? Does it comply with Federal, state, and local requirements for procurement? Have insurance proceeds and salvage values been deducted?
  • Terminology — The PA program defines and uses these terms:
    • Large Project — When the estimated cost of repairs and/or replacements exceeds $63, 200.00 (FY 2010), the project is defined as a large project. The funding is based on the actual cost rather than the estimated cost. Threshold values change annually, to confirm the current amount go to
    • Small Project — If the project cost estimate is less than $63,200.00 (FY 2010), it is a small project. Funding is made available upon approval of the project.
    • Improved Project — This is a project on which some non-disaster work is also done. FEMA funding is capped at disaster damage estimate. Improved Projects must be in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
    • Alternate Project — If an applicant chooses to abandon a facility rather than make disaster repairs, the applicant may use the PA funds (to the limit of the approved Federal cost estimate) at another facility. There is a 25 percent reduction in the FEMA funds for alternate projects (if unstable soils are present at the site, the reduction is 10 percent).
    • Insurance — Proceeds from insurance policies must be deducted from costs repair before FEMA funding. Insurance is required on the repaired facility before funding is approved.
  • Work Categories — For tracing and management purposes, damages and reimbursable activities are divided into seven categories.
    • Category A — Debris Removal Emergency Work
    • Category B — Emergency Protective Measures
    • Category C — Road Systems
    • Category D — Water Control Facilities
    • Category E — Public Buildings and Equipment
    • Category F — Public Utilities
    • Category G — Parks, Recreational, and other
  • Time Limits:
    • Debris Clearance (Category A) — 6 months
    • Emergency Protective Measures (Category B) — 6 months
    • Permanent Work (Category C-G) — 18 months
    All time frames for completing eligible work are also measured from the date of declaration of the disaster and vary depending on the type of work. All time frames are set by regulation; however, if extenuating circumstances or unusual project conditions exist, a time extension may be requested through the Grantee. If not changing the scope of work or cost, the State has the authority to extend the time frames for completion of debris removal and emergency work by 6 months and permanent work by 30 months. For all other extensions, the State must request the extension from FEMA on behalf of the applicants. The Regional Administrator may extend the time limitation beyond the State authority.
  • States Role — FEMA and the State work as partners to deliver the Public Assistance program. The State role is as follows:
    • Working with FEMA to manage the program.
    • Providing technical support and assistance to applicants.
    • Ensuring that potential applicants are educated about the PA Program and are aware that the assistance is available.
    • Supporting project identification, to include project formulation and small project validation.
    • Submitting documents necessary for award of grant assistance.
    • Providing grant funds to applicants.
    • Administering and monitoring the grants.
    • Submitting large project accounting and small project completion certification to FEMA.

Resources — Stafford Act, P.L. 93–288

44 CFR Part 206, Subparts C and G-L
44 CFR Part 13, Subparts A-D
Public Assistance Guide Book FEMA 322
FEMA Policy Digest Book FEMA P-321




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