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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Federal Disaster Case Management Program

What is Disaster Case Management (DCM)?

DCM is a program that addresses human services needs following a disaster through partner integration, provider capacity building, and state level program development. The DCM program promotes effective delivery of post-disaster case management services and recovery since many of the normal community support systems are disrupted during and after a disaster.

DCM is a time-limited partnership between a case manager and a disaster survivor to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the client with a single person to facilitate access to a broad range of resources. The process involves assessing the client’s needs caused by and related to the disaster, developing a goal-oriented plan outlining the steps necessary for recovery, organizing and coordinating resources that match the client’s needs, monitoring progress, and – when necessary – advocating on behalf of the client.

When is it available?

During a Presidentially declared disaster, the Governor may request the DCM program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DCM is provided as Individual Assistance (IA) under the Stafford Act, Emergency Support Function (ESF) # 6 – Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing and Human Services, Section 403, to augment the ability of States, Tribes, and United States (U.S.) Territories to create a coordinated system that provides disaster survivors with a single point of contact to help in the recovery process.

What is the structure of the DCM Program?

While Section 426 of the Stafford Act authorizes FEMA to “provide case management services, including financial assistance, to State or local government agencies or qualified private organizations to provide such services to victims of major disasters to identify and address unmet needs,” the DCM program is administered in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

DCM allows for a potential two-stage implementation process following an IA declaration. Alternatives include:

  • Immediate Federal DCM: a rapid deployment and implementation of services to support state, local, and non-profit capacity for disaster case management and to augment and build capacity where none exists.
  • DCM State Grant: a long-term program focused on matching resources with the survivor’s Disaster Recovery Plan and continued capacity building within the State.

Need more information?

Visit the Office of the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response, Disaster Case Management Program page.

  • This page last reviewed: September 08, 2020