FEMA Public Assistance Grant Program

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Release date: 
December 15, 2009
Release Number: 
DR-1862-VA-FS01

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Public Assistance Program can fund the repair, restoration, reconstruction or replacement of a public facility or infrastructure, which is damaged or destroyed by a disaster.  The step-by-step process for Public Assistance is outlined below:

  • DISASTER EVENT - A natural or man-made event that requires a response beyond the capabilities of local governments.

  • PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT - Preliminary Damage Assessments are used to evaluate the scope and impact of the event on public facilities and public entities.

  • DISASTER DECLARATION - The President authorizes aid through a major disaster or emergency declaration if impact exceeds state resources and meets certain criteria.

  • APPLICANTS BRIEFING - A meeting conducted by the state to inform potential applicants about the process of applying for assistance. Applicants are encouraged to submit the Request for Public Assistance (RPA) at this briefing.

  • SUBMISSION OF REQUEST - Formal application by an applicant (state or local authorities and certain nonprofit organizations) for public assistance. If the RPA was not submitted at the Applicants Briefing, applicants should submit their RPA promptly. Applicants have until Jan. 8, 2010 (30 days from the date of disaster declaration) to submit an application to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for federal and state financial assistance.
    • State forwards RPAs to FEMA.


  • KICKOFF MEETING - Once the applicant has submitted an RPA, the applicant meets with FEMA and state representatives to discuss grant criteria and define specific projects.
    • Federal and state personnel prepare Project Worksheets (PWs) – applicants work with the FEMA Public Assistance Coordinators (PACs) and State Public Assistance Coordinators. The PW is used to develop and define the Scope of Work and document cost.


  • COMPLETION OF PROJECT WORKSHEETS - Federal and state inspection teams evaluate project eligibility and develop an estimated scope of work or an estimated project cost.
    • Completed applications for federal funds are submitted to FEMA and the state along with all required supporting documentation (labor, equipment, materials, contracts and/or estimates).


  • PROCESSING PROJECT WORKSHEETS - Following review, the worksheets are entered into FEMA's database. Data from the state and local applicants required for processing may include special considerations, such as impacts to the environment and historic properties.

  • FEMA FUNDING - FEMA pays federal share (75 percent of eligible recovery costs).
    • FEMA is required to notify Congress of all awards over a million dollars. The notification is handled by FEMA headquarters and sent to the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Management and Budget and then to Congress. Once approval is obtained, the funds are obligated
    • FEMA is responsible for determining project eligibility and obligating approved funds to the state. (Obligation is the process by which the federal share of the approved amount (grant) is made available to the state.) Once the project worksheet is obligated, the grant money goes to the state where the payment request is processed, at which time the funds are withdrawn for payment and the state disperses federal and state shares to the applicant.


  • STATE DISBURSEMENT - State determines apportionment of non-federal share they will reimburse. The state disburses federal and state share of funds to the applicants. Public assistan...
Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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