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MAT Staff March 24, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Public Assistance Simplified Application

This Fact Sheet supplements Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Emergency Protective Measures and provides an overview of the FEMA Public Assistance application process for recipients and applicants requesting reimbursement related to federal emergency and major disaster declarations for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). FEMA is simplifying the Public Assistance application and funding process to address the magnitude of this event and allow local officials to receive eligible funding more quickly.

FEMA is simplifying the Public Assistance application process. FEMA is developing a simplified online form applicants can complete, and on which they may explain work activities, answer basic questions, provide limited supporting documentation, and provide a cost estimate. FEMA and the recipient will review this information, follow up with limited requests for additional information if necessary, and award assistance. Recipients will have access to all projects in PA Grants Portal, consistent with the traditional PA process.

The national emergency declaration authorized Public Assistance Category B reimbursement for emergency protective measures. It does not include additional categories of assistance, such as infrastructure repair and replacement, which are needed after typical natural disasters. This enables FEMA to eliminate many application steps that are designed for those categories, including: eliminating exploratory calls, recovery scoping meetings, and most site inspections; and reducing documentation requirements to the minimum needed to support Category B reimbursement.

Recipients are states, tribes, or territories that receive and administer Public Assistance awards. Applicants are state, local, tribal and territorial governments, or eligible private nonprofits, submitting a request for assistance under a recipient’s federal award.

Applicants are empowered to drive their own recovery and directly apply for reimbursement without waiting for FEMA to assign a Program Delivery Manager. FEMA is simplifying the process so applicants may directly apply for assistance through the PA Grants Portal.

As FEMA and recipients implement these changes, FEMA will continue to process and fund Public Assistance projects. Funding is immediately available should state, tribal, territorial or local officials request expedited assistance. Prior to funding, recipients must sign FEMA-State/Tribal/Territorial Agreements, submit signed Federal Grant Applications (SF-424), and update Recipient Public Assistance Administrative Plans. Recipients should start setting up Grants Portal accounts for themselves and applicants at grantee.fema.gov so they can apply for assistance. Once an account is created, Applicants may submit Requests for Public Assistance to begin the application process.

FEMA is working to rapidly scale up the information, tools and technology necessary to provide assistance to all applicants. Eligibility guidance on what FEMA can fund will be updated on the Public Assistance Policy, Guidance, and Factsheets page on FEMA.gov and the COVID-19 page on FEMA.gov. Application support and tutorials are available on the resource tab in PA Grants Portal.

More Information
For more information, visit the following websites:

  1. Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide
  2. FEMA.gov/Coronavirus
  3. Coronavirus (COVID-19) (CDC)

 

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