FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund: Budgetary History and Projections
CBO examines trends in funding and spending for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund and provides information about how CBO treats that program in its baseline and cost estimates.
To help households as well as state, local, and tribal governments respond to and recover from disasters, the federal government provides financial assistance through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), the largest source of federal financial assistance after disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the fund through a single federal spending account under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The money is used for the following activities:
Repair, replace, and improve the resiliency of damaged infrastructure;
Provide critical services;
Cover the costs of home repairs, property replacement, and other needs for affected households; and
Implement projects designed to mitigate the effects of future disasters.
Two types of legislation specifically address FEMA’s activities: Authorization legislation establishes priorities for DRF-funded programs, defines the types of assistance households and governments can receive, and specifies the terms under which it is available. Appropriation laws provide the funds needed to carry out those activities.