The applicant may appeal any FEMA determination related to an application for, or the provision of, assistance under the Public Assistance (PA) Program. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Applicant eligibility denials
- Non-concurrence on eligible damage or scopes of work (SOWs)
- Denial of time extensions
- Closeout determinations
- De-obligations resulting from an audit
For Recovery Audit questions, please contact FEMA Recovery Audits.
FEMA recipients and subrecipients are subject to federal and non-federal audits. Records are subject to audit by state or territorial government auditors, FEMA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Learn About Audits
- Find FEMA Fact Sheet: Audit-Related Guidance for Entities Receiving FEMA Public Assistance Funds (March 2021) and OIG Audit Tips for Managing Disaster-Related Project Costs (September 2017)
- Review the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide Version 4 which includes a section on the various types of audits, and the Public Assistance Recovery of Improper Payments Standard Operating Procedures
- Search the Office of Inspector General (OIG) website for FEMA-related audits, inspections and evaluations
Note: FEMA may adjust project funding due to audit findings.
Most Public Assistance (PA) projects are free from disputes. However, certain applicants that disagree with their eligibility for or repayment of assistance can seek arbitration in lieu of a second appeal. Additionally, applicants that have had a first appeal pending with FEMA for more than 180 calendar days may withdraw such appeal and submit a request for arbitration. The arbitration process is facilitated by the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) and all decisions made by that body are final.
Learn About Arbitration
- PA Arbitration Process – A graphic of the Public Assistance Program’s arbitration process.
- PA Arbitration Fact Sheet – An overview of the Public Assistance Program’s arbitration process.
Most Public Assistance (PA) projects are free of eligibility disputes or, if eligibility issues arise, they are quickly resolved.
When there is a FEMA determination the applicant disagrees with, PA applicants are provided a two-tiered administrative appeal process. The Regional Administrator (RA) of the applicable FEMA Region decides the first level appeal. If the applicant chooses to second appeal that decision, then the Assistant Administrator for Recovery at FEMA Headquarters determines the Agency’s final decision regarding the matter. If the Applicant does not second appeal the decision within 60 days of the first appeal decision, the first appeal decision becomes the final agency decision.
Learn About Appeals
- PA Appeals Fact Sheet - A general overview of the appeals process for the Public Assistance Program.
- FEMA Public Assistance Second Appeals Tracker - This dataset is made up of Public Assistance Second Appeals administered by the Public Assistance Appeals and Audits Branch.
The Appeals Database is an online, searchable database containing FEMA responses to applicant appeals for assistance.