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Using FEMA Public Assistance Grants to Support People with Disabilities During COVID-19

Case Study Last Reviewed: July 17, 2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funding for eligible states and non-profit entities to incorporate auxiliary aids and services in COVID-19 related response activities to accommodate individuals with access and functional needs.

The following is a list of key findings and considerations for jurisdictions and communities regarding ongoing COVID-19 pandemic operations across the country. These are best practices for consideration and do not constitute or should not be considered as guidance in any way.

This document contains references and links to non-federal resources and organizations. This information is meant solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be an endorsement of any non-federal entity by FEMA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.

Potential Best Practices

  • FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) grant can provide funding to eligible states and private non-profit entities to provide access and comply with disability rights laws if those costs are accrued during a Presidentially declared disaster. Additional information on FEMA’s PA program can be found here.
    • State, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) partners should consider providing auxiliary aids and services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to access any COVID-19 related response activity. Those aids and services may be eligible for FEMA PA reimbursement.
    • FEMA published a factsheet on the availability of FEMA PA funding to SLTTs to create and disseminate accessible health and safety information to the public.
  • SLTTs can find additional guidance and best practices on FEMA’s website on how to provide services and access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • SLTT partners that experience disasters during this pandemic environment should consider ensuring access to personal assistance services for people with disabilities that require congregate and non-congregate sheltering. Personal assistance services may be eligible for reimbursement under FEMA PA program.