S. 1528 would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to improve its website, DisasterAssistance.gov, which provides information for individuals, households, and businesses seeking access to federal disaster assistance. Many federal agencies provide information on the portal about the assistance that is available, but the website only allows applicants to apply for one FEMA program and has limited capacity for information sharing among participating agencies.
S. 1528 would require FEMA to streamline the application process by allowing individuals and businesses to apply for all available disaster assistance and to facilitate the sharing of applicant information among participating agencies. Under the bill, the portal would need to meet certain functionality requirements, such as protecting data privacy and facilitating agencies’ ability to detect fraud and discrimination in the administration of assistance programs.
In 2022, FEMA allocated about $11 million for the website, mostly for contracts with private vendors to operate the portal and supporting systems.