4000 HHSC Disaster Roles and Responsibilities

Revision 20-2; Effective November 18, 2020


4100 Overview of HHSC Disaster Roles and Responsibilities

Revision 12-1; Effective April 24, 2012


Authority for the administration of the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) provision of the IHP is delegated from HHSC's office of Business and Regional Services (BRS) to its Emergency Services Program (ESP). Administration of the program is the responsibility of the ESP leader. ESP is responsible for providing program direction and technical assistance to the regions. Each region is responsible for providing a regional disaster assistance coordinator (RDAC) and HHSC volunteer staff to deliver appropriate and timely services.

The ESP represents HHSC at the State Emergency Management Council. In the State Emergency Management Plan, HHSC is the primary agency responsible for Emergency Support Function #11, Food and Water. This involves coordinating with other state agencies and volunteer organizations to provide food, water and ice to communities hit by a disaster.


4200 Emergency Services Program (ESP)

Revision 20-2; Effective November 18, 2020


The Emergency Services Program (ESP) is responsible for administration of the ONA provision of the IHP. The ESP is a component of the office of BRS. In this handbook, the federal award coordinating officer (FACO) is assigned management responsibility for the ONA. Federal regulations define the FACO as the state official assigned management responsibility for the ONA provision of the IHP.

Responsibilities of ONA Administration

The general responsibilities of ONA administration are as follows:

  • Assisting the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in conducting damage surveys to determine the size and scope of the disaster and assessing the need for a presidential disaster declaration.
  • Staffing the disaster recovery center in coordination with TDEM and FEMA, if staff and budget resources are available.
  • Negotiating with the state coordinating officer and the federal coordinating officer.
  • Providing program direction and technical assistance to regional staff.
  • Negotiating with other disaster assistance agencies.
  • Conducting program monitoring activities.
  • Providing internal and external reports as required.
  • Coordinating program activities with appropriate HHSC support offices to provide for processing of grant benefit payments.
  • Developing policy and providing policy interpretations and guidelines.
  • Maintaining the IHP/ONA handbook and administrative plan.
  • Developing and maintaining training packages, and providing training to ONA program staff.


4300 State Office Support

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009




4310 Disaster Assistance Task Force

Revision 12-1; Effective April 24, 2012


A Disaster Assistance Task Force consists of representatives of state office units with specific support functions relating to the ONA provision of IHP and HHSC responsibilities as a member of the State Emergency Management Council. This task force coordinates plans for coping with disasters. If necessary, the ESP leader initiates requests for assistance from support units. The ESP leader sends requests to task force representatives, who contact their regional counterparts if the assistance is needed at the disaster site. Task force members include but are not limited to representatives from the following offices:

  • Office of Business and Regional Services (BRS)

    The Emergency Services Program (ESP) is a component of the office of BRS. Emergency Services administers the ONA provision of IHP and coordinates with the Disaster Assistance Task Force in a presidential disaster declaration. 

    The Emergency Services Program is also responsible for:
    • training regional disaster assistance coordinators;
    • arranging inter-regional loans of staff, if necessary to support implementation of the ONA, to include:
      • supervisory staff and workers for the disaster recovery center(s), and
      • supervisory staff to assist administration of the ONA;
    • ensuring that adequate travel arrangements are made for staff and that the host region arranges lodging for staff on loan; and
    • representing HHSC at the State Emergency Management Council, which includes:
      • coordinating with Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to provide commodities to voluntary agencies providing mass care and shelter in disaster situations, and
      • coordinating the shipment of water and ice to communities in a disaster situation.
  • Office of Family Services
    • Lone Star Technology within the HHSC Office of Family Services assists and coordinates with the issuance of SNAP for assistance with food in disaster situations.
  • System Support Services
    • Business Services
    • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
    • Production/Operations
  • Financial Services
    • Fiscal Management
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)


4320 System Support Services

Revision 12-1; Effective April 24, 2012


Business Services Department

The Business Services Department is responsible for the following functions:

  • Providing a representative to act as a liaison to ESP. The representative works with the regional business management officer or designee to meet the needs of the ONA.
  • Coordinating with regional staff to acquire appropriate office space (if needed), equipment and supplies. Business Services staff secure needed supplies when the ESP leader notifies them of the number of staff to be hired, if needed.
  • Providing for scheduled and unscheduled delivery of forms and supplies for ONA staff at the Joint Field Office and at state office, if needed.
  • Arranging for the return of unused material to state office at the close of each disaster operation, if needed.
  • Arranging for the emergency printing of forms, if needed.

Human Resource Department

Human Resource Department staff assist in resolving personnel policy issues related to the ONA. HR is responsible for:

  • hiring temporary workers,
  • providing temporary workers with a functional orientation, and
  • providing ongoing support to ESP in personnel matters.


4330 Office of Family Services

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009


Lone Star Technology

The Issuance Services Unit coordinates with HHSC Office of Family Services, USDA and the HHSC Office of Eligibility Services to determine the need for and implementation of the SNAP in disaster situations.


4340 Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA)

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009


Special Nutrition Services

Special Nutrition Services coordinates with USDA, FEMA and the Red Cross to provide commodities in disaster situations.


4350 Information Technology (IT)

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009



The Production/Operations section of the Information Technology (IT) Division is responsible for production and distribution of payment files for the ONA grant payments.


4360 Financial Services Division

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009


Fiscal Management Services

Fiscal Management Services staff process the payment files for delivery to the state comptroller's office, disburse warrants to victims and provide reports for audit purposes. These duties involve the following tasks:

  • Process vendor identification (VID) maintenance and pay files delivered from Production Control, including distributing appropriate paperwork and obtaining appropriate signatures.
  • Process Comptroller's Exception Report, including:
    • giving "hold" information to ONA,
    • completing forms for VID file changes, and
    • giving "release" information to ONA.
  • Track disbursements and cancellations in order to provide ONA staff with accurate figures.
  • Serve as liaison between the ONA and financial management concerning:
    • returned warrants,
    • lost/stolen warrants,
    • replacement vouchers, and
    • Texas Identification Numbers (TIN) — Assigned numbers for applicants that are based on each applicant's Social Security number or a unique assigned number for applicants without a Social Security number. Lists of unique TIN numbers are requested by ONA from Fiscal Management, which receives numbers from the Comptroller’s Office. TIN numbers are used to track and process all payments made to an applicant. (See Section 12100, Overview of Automated Systems.)


4370 Office of Inspector General (OIG)

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009


Office of Inspector General (OIG) staff are responsible for investigating cases of suspected criminal or administrative misconduct by state office, regional or temporary staff. In cases of suspected applicant fraud, the ESP leader refers the case to the OIG.


4400 Regional Offices

Revision 09-1; Effective July 20, 2009


Responsibilities of the Regional Director of Administrative Services

Regional directors of Administrative Services (RDASs) are responsible for appointing regional disaster assistance coordinators (RDACs). Each RDAS divides his region into areas and appoints a regional coordinator for each area; however, he designates one staff person as lead regional coordinator for the region. Regional coordinators report to the ESP leader after a disaster is declared. The ESP leader supervises regional coordinators during disaster operations.

If additional on-site administrative staff are needed during the initial two-to-three week phase of the program, RDASs may request regional coordinators to assist areas other than their own. Usually, the region in which the disaster occurs provides the administrative staff that assist regional coordinators during the first six months. In severe disasters, however, additional regional coordinators may be reassigned to assist in supervising temporary ONA staff working at the Joint Field Office (JFO) or in Austin.

RDASs evaluate recommendations from the ESP leader and regional coordinators concerning staffing needs for the Disaster Recovery Centers. If staff are not available in the affected region, the RDAS requests additional staff through the State Operations Division.

Regional Disaster Assistance Coordinators (RDACs)

ONA-related disaster assistance services may include any of the following services:

  • Appointing staff to serve in recovery centers as:
    • ONA representatives, who assist FEMA interviewers by answering ONA-related questions;
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) certification workers;
    • providers of information and referral; and
    • as needed in other capacities.
  • Developing and maintaining a list of HHSC Texas Works volunteers that includes each volunteer's address, phone number and role in the disaster.
  • Coordinating with state office ESP staff to train HHSC volunteers who work in the centers and local offices.
  • Representing ONA in the centers, when applicable. Regional coordinators meet with the ESP leader to prepare for the opening of centers and to learn procedures for operation. Staff also plan general training for center operations and specific training in the ONA provision of the IHP and SNAP policies and procedures.
  • Coordinating with state and federal information offices in announcing the program and location of offices.
  • Supervising temporary staff who perform ONA application processing services. Supervision is under the direction of the ESP leader.