Disaster Declaration Process Overview


Disaster response and recovery acronyms and process jargon can be overwhelming, and there are many different types of declarations. However, the main areas are Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA). An IA declaration provides assistance directly to disaster survivors (housing, personal property, transportation, etc.) while a PA declaration provides assistance mainly to government entities to address infrastructure challenges (e.g. repairing roads/bridges, repairing government buildings, debris removal, etc.). Currently, President Obama has approved an emergency declaration request to assist with debris removal in Missouri –

The current emergency declaration #3374 (see link to “Disaster Declaration Update” blog post) provides assistance to local jurisdictions to cover the cost of dumpster and equipment needed to remove debris from impacted areas. Residents can move their debris to the curb or designated site (should contact individual counties for specific information) for pick up. This does not have any bearing on an IA or PA request and basically activates additional federal resources to assist.

The list below shows the basic “steps” of the application/award process for a Presidential declaration for IA and/or PA:
• Counties (typically the Office of Emergency Management) identify the number of impacted homes, and report this information to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
o Affected residents are encouraged to report damage to local Emergency Management officials
• The State then requests joint Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) from SEMA and FEMA. In essence, the county official(s) accompany the state and federal damage assessment teams in their assessment of the affected areas.
o This process is occurring right now across the state of Missouri.
• FEMA completes PDAs to verify whether the damage meets the threshold to warrant a PA and/or IA.
• If the threshold is met, the FEMA Region VII (MO, KS, NE, IA) office makes a recommendation to FEMA Headquarters (HQ) for a declaration.
• FEMA HQ makes recommendation to the White House.
• President signs declaration.
• Federal resources are available commensurate to the type of declaration.

Here are some links that provide additional information on the FEMA declaration process:
IA details:

If a declaration is awarded, residents can apply for assistance here:

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