The FHA, a government agency, is not loaning you any money. You are working with a private company, and the FHA is providing a guarantee. This guarantee protects you in two significant ways.
The FHA guarantees that the senior will receive all the payments that he or she is entitled to as a result of the reverse mortgage. This removes the risk of the lender going bankrupt or simply refusing to make good on its obligations.
The FHA protects the borrower and his/her estate from ever owing more on the loan than the home is worth. In circumstances where the debt outstanding on the reverse mortgage exceeds the value of the home, the FHA covers the difference.