Cost-sharing arrangement exists between FEMA and THHSC for ONA claims

Appeal sent to FEMA –> FEMA determines if applicant qualifies for ONA –> If yes, FEMA sends application to THHSC

Threshold Requirements for All Categories of Other Needs Assistance

  • Applicant must have a serious need for an essential item damaged by the disaster 
  • Loss must have occurred in area declared a disaster area 
  • Household must have one US Citizen/LPR/Qualified Alien (can be minor child if parent/guardian applying on child’s behalf)
  • Applicant has insufficient or no insurance coverage
  • Disaster in which item was lost must be declared a major disaster area
  • Applicant has accepted assistance from all other sources
    • Including SBA loan – SBA is authorized to lend to individuals (personal/real property loans for both homeowners and renters; repair or replace damage to real property (primary residence) or personal property, including transportation – up to $200k; home relocation or replacement) 

Personal Property

  • Household Appliances
    • Includes standard appliances 
    • Applicant may receive assistance for two appliances that serve a similar purpose or function
  • Clothing Assistance
    • Based on the number of household members requiring clothing at the time of the FEMA inspection 
    • Includes essential clothing needed due to overall loss, damage, or contamination
      • This is the most common need for ONA applicants, however, it is difficult to receive because FEMA requires the clothing to be destroyed, physically gone, and/or contaminated 
        • e.g. – clothes with mold can be cleaned, therefore do not qualify 
  • Room Furnishings
    • Based on what would be found in a “typical” home; standard furniture in household rooms apply  
  • Essential Tools
    • Tools owned prior to the disaster and required by employer as a condition of employment and items required as a condition of an applicant’s or household member’s education 
      • e.g. – schoolbooks and supplies; school or work uniforms; computers required by school or employer; occupation tools (but not for self-employment)


  • Submit declaration explaining the damage including a list of items damages 
  • Include estimates for repair (if possible – usually just for appliances, etc.) 
  • Include receipts showing that applicant owned the piece of property 

Transportation Assistance

    • Vehicle sustained disaster-caused damage in declared area
    • Approved vehicle type 
      • e.g. – Vans, trucks, SUVs, cars
    • Has to be owned or leased (not a temporary rental) by the applicant, co-applicant, or household member 
    • Has to be registered with the State and insured 
    • Applicant cannot own operational and unaffected second vehicle 


  • Make sure the declaration asserts that the damage was caused by the disaster 
  • Submit declaration with documents proving ownership and that registration and liability insurance were active at time of disaster 
    • FEMA may be confused about whether client has full coverage or liability only insurance

Critical Needs Assistance

  • One time payment of $500 per household for applicants with critical needs for “life saving” and “life sustaining” items
    • e.g. – water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, fuel for transportation  
  • Must pass FEMA’s identity verification process (declaration & release)
  • Applicant must be displaced from pre-disaster residence due to disaster and pre-disaster residence must be in an area designated for critical needs assistance
  • During registration, applicant must have asserted critical needs and requested financial assistance

Other Categories of ONA Assistance

Cleaning and sanitization of property

Medical and dental costs (replacement or repair of necessary medical items not covered by insurance)

Funeral and burial costs


Moving and storage

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