44 CFR 206.48 - Factors considered when evaluating a Governor's request for a major disaster declaration.

Updated to:October 2013

Title 44: Emergency Management and Assistance




Subpart B: The Declaration Process

206.48 - Factors considered when evaluating a Governor's request for a major disaster declaration.

When we review a Governor's request for major disaster assistance under the Stafford Act, these are the primary factors in making a recommendation to the President whether assistance is warranted. We consider other relevant information as well.

(a) Public Assistance Program. We evaluate the following factors to evaluate the need for assistance under the Public Assistance Program.

(1) Estimated cost of the assistance. We evaluate the estimated cost of Federal and nonfederal public assistance against the statewide population to give some measure of the per capita impact within the State. We use a figure of $1 per capita as an indicator that the disaster is of such size that it might warrant Federal assistance, and adjust this figure annually based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers. We are establishing a minimum threshold of $1 million in public assistance damages per disaster in the belief that we can reasonably expect even the lowest population States to cover this level of public assistance damage.

(2) Localized impacts. We evaluate the impact of the disaster at the county and local government level, as well as impacts at the American Indian and Alaskan Native Tribal Government levels, because at times there are extraordinary concentrations of damages that might warrant Federal assistance even if the statewide per capita is not met. This is particularly true where critical facilities are involved or where localized per capita impacts might be extremely high. For example, we have at times seen localized damages in the tens or even hundreds of dollars per capita though the statewide per capita impact was low.

(3) Insurance coverage in force. We consider the amount of insurance coverage that is in force or should have been in force as required by law and regulation at the time of the disaster, and reduce the amount of anticipated assistance by that amount.

(4) Hazard mitigation. To recognize and encourage mitigation, we consider the extent to which State and local government measures contributed to the reduction of disaster damages for the disaster under consideration. For example, if a State can demonstrate in its disaster request that a Statewide building code or other mitigation measures are likely to have reduced the damages from a particular disaster, we consider that in the evaluation of the request. This could be especially significant in those disasters where, because of mitigation, the estimated public assistance damages fell below the per capita indicator.

(5) Recent multiple disasters. We look at the disaster history within the last twelve-month period to evaluate better the overall impact on the State or locality. We consider declarations under the Stafford Act as well as declarations by the Governor and the extent to which the State has spent its own funds.

(6) Programs of other Federal assistance. We also consider programs of other Federal agencies because at times their programs of assistance might more appropriately meet the needs created by the disaster.

(b) Factors for the Individual Assistance Program. We consider the following factors to measure the severity, magnitude and impact of the disaster and to evaluate the need for assistance to individuals under the Stafford Act.

(1) Concentration of damages. We evaluate the concentrations of damages to individuals. High concentrations of damages generally indicate a greater need for Federal assistance than widespread and scattered damages throughout a State.

(2) Trauma. We consider the degree of trauma to a State and to communities. Some of the conditions that might cause trauma are:

(i) Large numbers of injuries and deaths;

(ii) Large scale disruption of normal community functions and services; and

(iii) Emergency needs such as extended or widespread loss of power or water.

(3) Special populations. We consider whether special populations, such as low-income, the elderly, or the unemployed are affected, and whether they may have a greater need for assistance. We also consider the effect on American Indian and Alaskan Native Tribal populations in the event that there are any unique needs for people in these governmental entities.

(4) Voluntary agency assistance. We consider the extent to which voluntary agencies and State or local programs can meet the needs of the disaster victims.

(5) Insurance. We consider the amount of insurance coverage because, by law, Federal disaster assistance cannot duplicate insurance coverage.

(6) Average amount of individual assistance by State. There is no set threshold for recommending Individual Assistance, but the following averages may prove useful to States and voluntary agencies as they develop plans and programs to meet the needs of disaster victims.

Average Amount of Assistance per Disaster

[July 1994 to July 1999]

Small states(under 2 million pop.)

Medium states(2-10 million pop.)

Large states(over 10 million pop.)

Average Population (1990 census data) 1,000,057 4,713,548 15,522,791
Number of Disaster Housing Applications Approved 1,507 2,747 4,679
Number of Homes Estimated Major Damage/Destroyed 173 582 801
Dollar Amount of Housing Assistance $2.8 million $4.6 million $9.5 million
Number of Individual and Family Grant Applications Approved 495 1,377 2,071
Dollar Amount of Individual and Family Grant Assistance 1.1 million 2.9 million 4.6 million
Disaster Housing/IFG Combined Assistance 3.9 million 7.5 million 14.1 million


The high 3 and low 3 disasters, based on Disaster Housing Applications, are not considered in the averages. Number of Damaged/Destroyed Homes is estimated based on the number of owner-occupants who qualify for Eligible Emergency Rental Resources. Data source is FEMA's National Processing Service Centers. Data are only available from July 1994 to the present.

Small Size States (under 2 million population, listed in order of 1990 population): Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, District of Columbia, North Dakota, Delaware, South Dakota, Montana, Rhode Island, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Nevada, Maine, New Mexico, Nebraska, Utah, West Virginia. U.S. Virgin Islands and all Pacific Island dependencies.

Medium Size States (2-10 million population, listed in order of 1990 population): Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Colorado, South Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Minnesota, Maryland, Washington, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan. Puerto Rico.

Large Size States (over 10 million population, listed in order of 1990 population): Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, New York, California.

[64 FR 47698, Sept. 1, 1999]