FEMA Releases Public Assistance Simplified Procedures Policy for Public Comment

Release Date:
October 17, 2022

PA Simplified Procedures Policy

The draft policy aims to reduce the administrative burden for Small Projects, support equitable delivery of assistance to underserved communities, apply simplified procedures in an appropriate and consistent manner, and enable communities to recover more quickly after Presidentially declared events. Once finalized, the policy will apply to all PA Small Projects funded under major disasters and emergencies declared on or after the date of issuance. The policy does not apply to Management Costs funded under Stafford Act Section 324 or Donated Resources.

The policy will streamline requirements for providing documentation for eligible facilities, work, and costs for Small Projects to include acceptance of Applicants’ certified estimates and summary information for cost.  FEMA will accept the Applicant’s certifications for damage and work, instead of it providing full or detailed documentation. The Applicant must demonstrate that damage was caused directly by the declared incident.

Section 422 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5121 et seq (Stafford Act) authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide funding on the basis of the Federal estimate for projects with an estimated cost below a specified and established dollar threshold and implement simplified procedures for projects below such threshold. In August 2022, FEMA published a final rule to increase the small project maximum for the agency’s PA program to $1 million (Small Project). This reduces the administrative burden on State, Local, Tribal, or Territorial (SLTT)s and Private Non-Profit (PNP)s receiving FEMA financial grants following a disaster. A Small Project has costs below the threshold, while a large project has costs equal to or above the $1 million threshold (Large Project). Once finalized, this policy supersedes guidance pertaining to Small Projects in the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG) and establishes additional policy related to Small Projects. All other requirements in the PAPPG apply.

Applicants are not required to submit quarterly progress reports on small projects or reconcile final costs, but must still comply with all application laws, regulations, and policies. National emergency management partners have supported FEMA issuing this policy to reduce administrative burdens, more efficiently use resources, simplify the program for smaller applicants with smaller dollar projects, and speed up the closure of projects.

The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA are committed to providing equitable and accessible recovery support to affected communities. FEMA intends to continue adjusting the threshold annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers and reviewing the base threshold every three years. The $1 million threshold applies to all projects under major disasters and emergencies declared on or after Aug. 3, 2022. The $1 million threshold also applies to all unobligated PA projects in major disasters and emergencies declared between March 13, 2020, and Aug. 3, 2022.

The public comment period is open from October 17, 2022, through November 16, 2022.  The draft policy is posted on the FEMA website at FEMA.gov.  All comments should be sent to FEMA-Recovery-PA-Policy@fema.dhs.gov

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