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DHS/FEMA RIN: 1660-AB07 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Individual Assistance Program Equity 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will publish an interim final rule (IFR) amending its regulations governing the Individual Assistance program to increase equity by simplifying processes, removing barriers to entry, and increasing eligibility for certain types of assistance under the program. Specifically, the IFR will: Increase eligibility for home repair assistance by amending the definitions and application of the terms safe, sanitary, and functional, allowing assistance for certain accessibility-related items, and amending its approach to evaluating insurance proceeds; allow for the re-opening of the applicant registration period when the President adds new counties to the major disaster declaration; simplify the documentation requirements for continued temporary housing assistance; simplify the appeals process; simplify the process to request approval for a late registration; remove the requirement to apply for a Small Business Administration loan as a condition of eligibility for Other Needs Assistance (ONA); and establish additional assistance under ONA for serious needs, displacement, disaster-damaged computing devices, and essential tools for self-employed individuals.  FEMA also makes revisions to reflect changes to statutory authority that have not yet been implemented in regulation, to include provisions for utility and security deposit payments, lease and repair of multi-family rental housing, child care assistance, maximum assistance limits, and waiver authority. 

FEMA sought input on regulatory changes to the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) through a Request for Information (RFI), published on April 22, 2021, seeking public input on its programs, regulations, collections of information, and policies to ensure they effectively achieve FEMA’s mission in a manner that furthers the goals of advancing equity for all, including those in underserved communities; bolstering resilience from the impacts of climate change, particularly for those disproportionately impacted by climate change; and environmental justice.  86 FR 21325, Apr. 22, 2021. 

FEMA held public meetings and extended the comment period on the RFI to ensure all interested parties had sufficient opportunity to provide comments. See "Request for Information on FEMA Programs, Regulations, and Policies; Public Meetings; Extension of Comment Period,” 86 FR 30326, June 7, 2021.  All relevant comments received in response to the RFI, including those received during the public meetings, have been posted to the public rulemaking docket on the Federal eRulemaking portal at  Commenters raised equitable concerns that FEMA will address in this IFR, such as by removing the requirement to apply for the SBA for a loan before receipt of ONA, amending FEMA’s habitability standards, increasing assistance for essential tools, simplifying its appeal process, and removing documentation requirements for late registrations. FEMA will seek public comment on this IFR and will carefully consider each comment received to determine whether further changes to FEMA’s IHP regulations are needed. 

Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Section 3(f)(1) Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 44 CFR 206.101    44 CFR 206.110 to 206.115    44 CFR 206.117 to 206.119    44 CFR 206.191   
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 5155    42 U.S.C. 5174    42 U.S.C. 5189a   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

FEMA’s IHP regulations have not had a major review and update since section 206 of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 replaced the Individual and Family Grant Assistance Program with the current IHP. Some minor changes to Repair Assistance were completed in 2013, but Congress has passed multiple other laws that have superseded portions of the regulations and created other programs or forms of assistance with no supporting regulations. This IFR will update the IHP regulations now to bring them up to date and address other lessons learned through the course of implementing the IHP in disasters much larger than any previously addressed at the time the regulations were first developed.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

FEMA estimates that this rulemaking would result in an increase in transfer payments from FEMA and States in the form of disaster assistance to individuals and households. It would also result in additional costs to States for familiarization of the rule and to FEMA and applicants for paperwork burden. The rule would ensure disaster assistance is more equitably distributed and assist applicants to more quickly and fully recover from disasters by expanding eligibility for, and access to, certain types of assistance. Lastly, the rulemaking would improve clarity and align FEMA regulations with statutory changes improving the efficiency and the consistency of IHP assistance.

Action Date FR Cite
Interim Final Rule  12/00/2023 
Additional Information: Docket ID FEMA-2023-0003
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Kristina McAlister
Supervisory Emergency Management Specialist (Recovery)
Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Individual Assistance Division Recovery Directorate, 500 C Street SW,
Washington, DC 20472
Phone:866 826-8751