Great news yesterday out of the Senate Homeland Security Committee! The Committee approved the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act (S. 1528). The bill contains language establishing a universal disaster application to make it easier for disaster survivors to apply for assistance across all federal agencies.IAEM endorsed S.1528 and is working with the Committee to get the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.
On Friday, the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act passed the Senate. The bill, with IAEM and NEMA support, requires FEMA to establish a universal disaster application for disaster survivors. It would bring together many (but not all) programs from agencies such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The bill allows FEMA to share information on disaster survivors with other federal agencies to simplify recovery efforts and reduce the burden on survivors after a disaster. FEMA would be the lead in implementing a universal disaster application for disaster victims so that they would no longer be required to submit multiple applications, which often times ask duplicative questions, to each federal entity for assistance. All information sharing practices would have to meet applicable data security standards and best practices.
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