U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and James Lankford (R-OK) recently introduced legislation that seeks to simplify the federal disaster recovery assistance application resource.
The Disaster Assistance Simplification Act requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a universal application across federal agencies for disaster survivors who are seeking federal assistance.
The bill addresses recovery from hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other disasters.
“Michiganders and people across the nation who are trying to piece their lives and livelihoods back together after disasters and emergencies should not have to go through overwhelming, duplicative application processes when asking for help from the federal government,” said Peters, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “By requiring a universal application for federal disaster recovery assistance, this bipartisan bill will reduce the burden on families and individuals who are seeking federal assistance to rebuild and recover from disasters.”
Currently, individuals seeking federal disaster recovery assistance are required to complete separate and detailed applications, depending on the agency from which they need help. This process can take weeks or even months.
“Oklahomans are familiar with disasters and the hoops people have to jump through to get federal disaster assistance,” Lankford said. “I’ve consistently heard from disaster victims about how difficult and disjointed the grant application process was in an already burdensome situation. Our bill creates one application on disasterassistance.gov to use across federal agencies to ensure disaster victims can easily apply for assistance while they continue to clean up.”