Texas

FEMA Benefits: Individuals and Household Program (IHP)

Authored By: Partnership for Legal Access

Information

Information from FEMA's Help After a Disaster: Applicant's Guide to the Individuals & Households Program (July 2004) at

IHP Generally

Q. What are the primary benefits available from FEMA under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP)?

A. From the FEMA website: When disasters take place, the IHP provides money and services to people in the disaster area when losses are not covered by insurance and property has been damaged or destroyed.

IHP is designed to help with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways.

Money received from IHP:

  • Must be used for eligible expenses only, as identified by FEMA. If you do not use the money as explained by FEMA, you may not be eligible for any additional help and may have to give the money back;
  • Is usually limited to up to 18 months from the date the President declares the disaster;
  • Does not have to be repaid;
  • Is tax-free;
  • Is not counted as income or a resource in determining eligibility for welfare, income assistance, or income-tested benefit programs funded by the Federal government;
  • Is exempt from claims of creditors, such as garnishment, seizure, encumbrance, levy, execution, pledge, attachment, release, or waiver; and
  • May not be reassigned or transferred to another person.

Other cautions:

  • You must keep receipts or bills for 3 years to demonstrate how all of the money was used in meeting your disaster-related needs
  • Before you begin any repairs, check with your local building department to find out what local permits or inspections are required.

IHP Limitations

Q. What are the limitations of the IHP?

A. IHP has the following limitations:

  • You must meet specific eligibility conditions to qualify for help.
  • IHP will not cover all of your losses from damage to your property (home, personal property, household goods) that resulted from the disaster.
  • IHP is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster. In some cases, IHP may only provide enough money, up to the program limits, for you to return an item to service.
  • IHP does not cover business-related losses that resulted from the disaster.
  • IHP cannot provide money to you for losses that are covered by your insurance.
  • While some money is available through IHP, most disaster aid from the Federal government is in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that must be repaid. Applicants to IHP may be required to seek help from SBA first, before being considered for certain types of IHP help.
  • IHP money may not be spent to cover utilities or other expenses incurred from staying with relatives or friends.

Types of IHP Benefits

Q. What types of benefits are available under the IHP?

A. The following types of assistance are available through the IHP:

  • Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.
  • Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
  • Replacement: Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
  • Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
  • Other Needs: Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses that are authorized by law.

Eligibility

Q. Who is eligible for money or help for Housing Needs the result of a disaster?

A. Generally, all the following must be true:

  • You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President.
  • You have filed for insurance benefits and the damaged to your property is not covered by your insurance. You may be eligible for help from IHP to repair damage to your property.
  • You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
  • Your home is in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President.
  • The home in the disaster area is where you usually live and where you were living at the time of the disaster.
  • You are not able to live in your home now, you cannot get to your home due to the disaster, or your home requires repairs because of damage from the disaster

Q. Who is eligible for money or help with Other than Housing Needs the result of a disaster?

A. Generally, all the following must be true:

  • You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President.
  • You have filed for insurance benefits and the damage to your property is not covered by your insurance. You may be eligible for help from IHP to repair damage to your property.
  • You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
  • You have necessary expenses or serious needs because of the disaster.
  • You have accepted assistance from all other sources for which you are eligible, such as insurance proceeds or SBA loans.

Q. Who is generally not eligible for IHP assistance ?

A. Generally a person may not be eligible for money or help from IHP if:

  • You have other, adequate rent-free housing that you can use (for example, rental property that is not occupied).
  • Your home that was damaged is your secondary or vacation residence.
  • Your expenses resulted only from leaving your home as a precaution and you were able to return to your home immediately after the incident.
  • Your losses are covered by insurance or you have refused assistance from your insurance provider(s).
  • Your only losses are business losses (including farm business other than the farmhouse and self-employment) or items not covered by the IHP program.
  • The damaged home where you live is located in a designated flood hazard area and your community is not participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. In this case, the flood damage to your home would not be covered, but you may qualify for rental assistance or items not covered by flood insurance, such as water wells, septic systems, medical, dental, or funeral expenses.

Types of Losses Eligible for IHP Money

Q. What types of losses are eligible under the IHP?

A. The IHP only covers the repair or replacement of items that are (1) damaged as a direct result of the disaster and (2) are not covered by insurance.

  • Housing Needs: Money to repair your home is limited to making your home safe and sanitary so you can live there. IHP will not pay to return your home to its condition before the disaster. Repairs or rebuilding may not improve your home above its pre-disaster condition unless such improvements are required by current building codes.
    Types of eligible losses include:
    • Home Repair: Money, available to homeowners, to address the cost of labor and materials for repairs to your home to make it safe, sanitary and/or functional, such as windows, doors, walls, septic system, heating, gas and electrical systems,.
    • Housing Assistance: Help with the cost of disaster-related housing needs.
    • Permanent Housing: Due to a lack of rental resources, the infeasibility of home repair and replacement housing assistance and the lack of available building contractors in your area, FEMA will have your home rebuilt.
    • Rental Assistance: Money to address the cost of renting another place to live. For homeowners, this money may be provided in addition to Home Repair, if needed.
    • Replacement Housing: Money to help with the cost of replacing your home, up to the limits allowed by law, because it is not safe, sanitary, and/or functional.
    • Transient Accommodations: Money to address the cost of temporary lodging expenses (hotel or motel) related to the disaster.
  • Personal Property and Other-than-Housing Needs: Money to repair damaged personal property or to pay for disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs is limited to items or services that help prevent or overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury, or adverse condition. IHP will not pay to return or replace your personal property to its condition before the disaster.
    Types of eligible losses include:
    • Dental: Money to address the cost of dental treatments due to dental injuries received during the disaster.
    • Medical: Money to address the cost of medical treatment or the purchase of medical equipment required because of physical injuries received as a result of the disaster.
    • Funeral: Money to address the cost of funeral services, burial or cremation, and other funeral expenses related to a death caused by the disaster.
    • Personal Property: Money to address the cost of repairing and/or replacing disaster-damaged items, such as furniture, bedding, appliances, clothing, educational supplies (computers, school books).
    • Vehicles: Money to address the cost of repairing and/or replacing your vehicle that is no longer usable because of disaster-related damage.
    • Moving and Storage: Money to address the costs of moving and storing personal property from the disaster-damage dwelling to avoid additional disaster-related damage.
    • Other: Money to address the cost of other specific disaster-related needs approved for the disaster.