When tragedy strikes, families, businesses, and communities seek assistance to repair homes, facilities, and infrastructure and to restore vital services. The types and levels of disaster assistance depend on the severity of the damage and the declarations that result from the disaster event.
There are essentially three types of declarations: a governor's proclamation that allows state agencies wide latitude to provide assistance and relaxes contracting requirements; a Small Business Administration disaster declaration that provides limited loan assistance to individuals and businesses following smaller events; and, a Presidential Declaration of Major Disaster or Disaster Emergency that involves a response from both state and federal resources.
Learn more from the PEMA Federal Disaster Assistance Fact Sheet (PDF).
Recovering from a disaster begins with reporting your damages.
Public Assistance Infrastructure Repair
The Public Assistance program provides reimbursement grants to local governments (state, county, local, municipal authorities, school districts and certain non-profit agencies) that were involved in disaster response and recovery operations or that suffered loss or damage to facilities or property used to deliver governmental-like services.
The Public Assistance program, available after a presidential declaration, is largely funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with both local and state matching contributions required.
View helpful forms you can use for applying for Federal Disaster Funds under the Public Assistance program.
Individual Assistance and Human Services
In the event of a Presidential Declaration of Major Disaster, the Individual Assistance program provides help for individuals, businesses, homeowners, and renters as they recover from disasters.
These programs are largely funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, although other federal, state and local agencies support the overall Individual Assistance program.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may make a disaster declaration for smaller events such as fires or localized flooding. SBA loan assistance may also be available to business that have suffered economic injury due to mobilization or deployment of Armed Forces Reservists in their employ.
The Bureau of Recovery and Mitigation oversees the commonwealth's disaster assistance programs. For information on specific programs, contact the following program managers: