The Public Assistance Officer (PAO) is the Federal official specifically responsible for administering the Public Assistance (PA) Program during disaster operations. As the program manager, the PAO advises the Federal Coordinating Officer on all PA Program matters, manages the operation of the public assistance staff and any coordination between the PA Program and other arms of the Federal disaster recovery effort. He or she works with State counterparts to ensure that the PA Program is effective in meeting the needs of Applicants and wnsures that the PA Program is operating in compliance with all laws, regulations, and policies.
Typically, a State PAO is also designated. The State PAO has similar responsibilities within the State organization, but is also responsible for keeping Applicants informed and educated and for working with Applicants to resolve problems.