Public Assistance Overview

What is Section 406 Public Assistance (PA)?

Public Assistance provides disaster grant assistance to recipients and sub-recipients to help communities quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies.

Funding may be made available for emergency actions taken in response to a disaster and for work done to repair or replace damaged public infrastructure.  Funding is reimbursed to approved applicants as eligible costs are incurred. 

As part of the reimbursements made to restore damaged public facilities, public assistance funds may be made available for cost-effective mitigation measures undertaken as part of the recovery.  The amount of Section 406 Mitigation funds made available in any given disaster is based on a project-by-project evaluation of the feasibility and cost effectiveness of mitigation measures.


Who Manages PA?

The 406 grant is managed by the State under funding provided for in the  KYEMKYEM Stafford Act.  Section 406 mitigation measures are funded under the Public Assistance, or Infrastructure, program (PA). PA is jointly administered by FEMA and the Commonwealth.  

  • FEMA is responsible for managing the PA Program, approving grants and providing technical assistance to the State and applicants. 
  • The KYEM Recovery Branch acts as the Grantee for the PA Program by educating potential applicants, managing applicant files, distributing funds to applicants, and facilitating disputes between applicants and FEMA. 

The 406 funding provides discretionary authority to fund mitigation measures in conjunction with the repair of the disaster-damaged facilities, so is limited to declared counties and eligible damaged facilities. Section 406 is applied on the parts of the facility that were damaged by the disaster and the mitigation measure directly reduce the potential of future, similar disaster damages to the eligible facility.

The PA Program coordinates FEMA grants awarded to state and local governmental entities and certain private nonprofits for response to and recovery from disasters.  The Public Assistance Program provides assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent restoration of damaged infrastructure.  Typically, FEMA will provide at least 75% of the eligible repair costs. 

Applicants are responsible for maintaining accurate supporting documentation, complying with federal and state program requirements, and completing projects according to designated scopes of work. 

Link to KYEM’s website for a full overview, forms and links:  

 


FEMA Increases Public Assistance Small Project Maximum to $1 Million

August 3, 2022

FEMA has implemented a regulatory change to increase the small project maximum for the agency’s Public Assistance program to $1 million.

Simplified procedures allow FEMA to fund eligible small projects based on estimates, which expedites disaster recovery funding to applicants.  By simplifying the application process breaks

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 making this change 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 $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.

Link to the FEMA_Advisory_FEMA_Increases_Public_Assistance_Small_Project_Maximum_to_$1Million_20220803

 


Building Codes, The Foundation for Resilience: Get Reimbursed for Building Code Administration and Enforcement After a Disaster with Public Assistance

July 2022

Section 1206 of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 authorizes FEMA to provide communities with the resources to administer and enforce building code and floodplain management ordinances following a major disaster declaration through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.

To promote this opportunity, FEMA has developed a two-page flyer that outlines:

  • Who’s eligible to apply
  • What work & costs are eligible for reimbursement
  • Cost-share details and more!

Link to Download the DRRA 1206 Flyer.

 


2021 KAMM PA Presentation from Cheri Lee, FEMA

Link to Public-Assistance-Mitigation-2021-Cherie-Lee.pdf

 


 

FEMA Releases Fourth Version of the Public Assistance Policy and Program Guide

May 27, 2020

The fourth version of the Public Assistance Policy and Program Guide will go into effect on June 1, 2020. The latest version supersedes version 3.1 and will be applicable to incidents declared on or after June 1, 2020.   

The Public Assistance Policy and Program Guide is a comprehensive program resource that combines FEMA Public Assistance policy into a single volume and provides an overview of the program implementation process with links to other publications and documents that provide additional process details.

The Fourth Edition was released in draft form with a 45-day public comment period.  The FEMA Public Assistance program received and adjudicated more than 580 public comments while drafting the final version.

Updates to the guide includes, but are not limited to:

  • Incorporation of the Public Assistance Alternative Procedures for Permanent Work Pilot Policy (FEMA Policy 104-009-7);
  • Incorporation of the Public Assistance National Delivery Model process and procedures;
  • Updates to administrative processes and eligibility of applicants, emergency work, permanent work, and cost; and,
  • Incorporation and subsequent supersession of various policies, job aids, and fact sheets.

FEMA makes updates to the guide on an annual basis when necessary and conducts a comprehensive review no less than every three years.


Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide

May 26, 2021

FEMA has updated the “FEMA Individual Assistance Program Policy Guide,” a comprehensive guide for all FEMA Individual Assistance programs. The updated guide reiterates FEMA’s commitment to increasing the equitable execution of our programs.

The Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide, version 1.1, includes several changes that incorporate additional assistance for disaster survivors, as authorized in the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, aligns policy to current processing guidance and addresses lessons learned from recent disasters and demonstrates FEMA’s commitment to providing assistance to under-served communities.

As mandated by the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, FEMA’s Individuals and Housing Program and Other Needs Assistance program now have separate maximum funding amounts to prevent survivors having to make tough decisions about the kind of help they need most. 

Major updates to the guide include:

  • Clarifying assistance available to applicants residing in non-traditional housing.
  • Delegating authority for rental assistance rate increases.
  • Detailing new authorization and eligibility criteria for Critical Needs Assistance.
  • Updating the real property verified loss threshold for direct housing referral criteria to $12 per square foot, from the previous $17,000 threshold, to capture a wider range of survivor circumstances regardless of event type, location, or size of their dwelling.
  • Separate financial assistance maximum award amounts for Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance.
  • Updated Multi-Family Lease and Repair property eligibility requirements.
  • Specific disaster-damaged accessibility items covered under Home Repair or Personal Property Assistance are not limited to a financial maximum award. This means a survivor who lost their wheelchair would not have to decide between their critical equipment and housing repairs.
  • Increases to the Group Flood Insurance Policy coverage and premium.
  • Waiver authority for debts meeting specific criteria.

The guide provides a comprehensive policy resource for all stakeholders engaged in post-disaster recovery and can be found online at FEMA.gov. This version applies to all disasters declared on or after May 26, 2021 and will supersede the previous version of the IAPPG published in March 2019.


Partial Implementation of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for Public Assistance (Interim)

FEMA Policy 104-22-0003

June 3, 2022

FEMA announced its release of the Partial Implementation of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for Public Assistance (Interim) which provides elevation requirements for actions involving structures located in a designated floodplain.

FEMA is committed to leveraging its programs to ensure communities affected by current and future flood risk are less vulnerable to the loss of life and property.  Many communities are faced with aging infrastructure, which can increase risk from major disasters.  As the frequency of these disasters accelerates, the agency must increase climate adaptation investments across the nation.

The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) is a flood standard established to increase community resilience to flooding.  This policy implements the portion of FFRMS that sets a higher elevation standard for structures in floodplains.

This policy establishes requirements for elevating and floodproofing structures funded under the Public Assistance (PA) program.  Requiring use of FFRMS will help ensure that the federal investment in structures is spent in a manner that improves community resilience.  The policy defines elevation and floodproofing requirements for structures within the 100 and 500-year floodplains.  The costs associated with elevating and floodproofing structures to meet the requirements of this policy are eligible for Public Assistance funding.

FEMA is prioritizing policy changes across its programs that advance the adoption and enforcement of disaster resistant building codes and standards to increase the Nation’s resilience to current and future risks from a changing climate.  FEMA continues to evaluate existing authorities to identify ways in which the agency can strengthen communities before, during, and after disasters across all programs.

Link to Partial Implementation of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for Public Assistance.


FEMA Funding to Make Homes More Durable

June 11, 2021

The additional funds for mitigation measures are subject to the Stafford Act limit for Housing Assistance, which is $36,000 for FY2021

As part of its commitment to make communities stronger and more resilient, FEMA is providing mitigation assistance to homeowners under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) for several hazard mitigation measures.  The additional funding will help eligible homeowners in areas covered by Presidential Disaster Declarations repair their homes in ways that will reduce the likelihood of future disaster damage.

Applicants who are approved for IHP assistance for home repairs may receive additional funds for select mitigation measures. In addition to the funds they need to repair their roof, eligible homeowners may also receive money above the cost of basic repairs to make their roof more resistant to high winds or flood damage

For example, applicants are able to install asphalt shingles designed to withstand wind speeds up to 116 miles per hour to help increase a roof’s durability.  For non-shingle roofs, applicants may use the additional funds for design and installation techniques that can improve the roof’s performance against risks for their specific geographic area.  Homeowners may also be found eligible for funds to elevate their water heater, furnace, or electrical panel.

The mitigation measures are limited and will only be provided for specific components that were present and functional prior to the disaster and were damaged by the disaster.


After a Disaster: Recovery Assistance for Emergency Service Organizations

February 19, 2019

The FEMA Public Assistance grant program helps emergency service organizations with funding to repair and rebuild facilities after a disaster.

The days following a presidentially declared disaster can be overwhelming for those left to pick up the pieces of their lives.  Disaster survivors who need information on grant programs for homeowners and renters can apply for assistance from FEMA.  However, what about public facilities like your fire or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) departments that are damaged by a disaster?

Good news: FEMA is also there for your emergency services department to help you repair or rebuild your facility.  Your organization may receive FEMA Public Assistance funding for:

  • Debris removal (tree limbs, branches, stumps or trees that are still in place but damaged to the extent they pose an immediate threat).
  • Emergency protective measures (pre-positioning equipment, use of temporary generators and security, such as barricades).
  • Repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged facilities, equipment and apparatus.
  • Eligible costs associated with mutual aid.

In most situations, your headquarters, emergency operations center, dispatch center and other response systems will have the documentation needed to support requests for reimbursement costs.

How much will FEMA pay?  FEMA’s share of assistance is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost.  The recipient (usually your state) determines how the nonfederal share (up to 25 percent) is split with a sub recipient (your organization).  Volunteer work and donated equipment, supplies and resources may be used to offset the nonfederal share of eligible costs.

Action step: Prepare now to help your department recover from a disaster

Learn more about eligibility, guidelines and the application process for Public Assistance from FEMA.


Online Webinar Series Focuses on Procurement Under Disaster Grants

FEMA’s Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) recently published offering detailed information for recipients and sub-recipients of FEMA disaster grants as they navigate the federal procurement process. The video modules were produced by OCC’s Procurement Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT), and are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice or live procurement under grants training.  The webinars describe procurement standards under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (also known as the “Uniform Rules”), (2 C.F.R. §§ 200.317-.326).

June 2017

These blocks of instruction will familiarize you with the procurement standards imposed by Federal regulations on recipients and subrecipients when procuring services and property with funding from any of the Stafford Act grant programs, specifically as interpreted by and applied to the Public Assistance Program.  FEMA recommends watching these modules in order if you have not received this training before. If you have received any or all of this training before, these modules can be watched in any order as a refresher. 

Topics discussed include, in part; the roles of federal and non-federal entities in the procurement under grants process; rules applicable to states, including state agencies; rules applicable to local governments, tribes, and nonprofits, sometimes collectively referred to as non-Federal Entities (NFEs); competition and procurement methods that apply to NFEs; socioeconomic contracting; pre-procurement document review and bonding requirements for NFEs; procurement of recovered materials or required contract provisions; and the differences between the current procurement standards and previous procurement standards.

The webinars may be useful for FEMA stakeholders in the public, private, tribal, or non-profit sectors or any other emergency management personnel working on procurements under grants.

Please visit www.fema.gov/procurement-disaster-training to watch the webinar series and learn more about important procurement legal standards under FEMA disaster grants.

For further information on FEMA grant procurement requirements, including contract review checklists, detailed guidance on the above topics, and online webinar training classes. Learn about Contracting with Federal Funds for Goods and Services Before, During and After Disasters.

A disaster could happen any minute — is your local government prepared to submit required reports to FEMA?  Or will your team waste hundreds of hours scrambling to provide FEMA with activity plans, time records, material usage, and photos for reimbursement?


FEMA PA 406 Mitigation Brochure

November 2019

The FEMA PA 406 Mitigation Brochure provides information on FEMA Public Assistance mitigation funding, eligibility requirements, examples of mitigation projects, and where to go for more guidance. This four-page brochure covers it all.


FEMA Public Assistance Mitigation


Top 10 Grant Procurement Mistakes and Training

October 7, 2017

Select this link to access a printable summary of this course

Completing a Grant/  Use this checklist to ensure you aren’t making the most common mistakes.

Top 10 Procurement Mistakes Leading to Audits and Potential Loss of FEMA Public Assistance Grant Funding

  1. Engaging in a noncompetitive procurement (i.e., sole-sourcing) without carefully documenting how the situation has created an urgent need to perform the works sooner than a competitive procurement process would allow.
  2. Continuing work under a sole-source contract after the urgent need (see #1) has ended, instead of transitioning to a competitively procured contract.
  3. Piggybacking onto another jurisdiction’s contract in a situation that doesn’t allow noncompetitive procurement (see #1) or where the other contract is materially different in terms of scope or requirements. Piggybacking is rarely allowable.
  4. Awarding a “time-and-materials” contract without a ceiling price that the contractor exceeds at its own risk and without documenting why no other contract type is suitable.
  5. Awarding a “cost-plus-percentage-of-cost” or “percentage-of-construction-cost” contract.
  6. Not including the required contract clauses (available online at the below website under “PDAT Resources” menu).
  7. Including a geographic preference in a solicitation (i.e., giving an advantage to local firms).
  8. Not making and documenting efforts to solicit small businesses, minority businesses, and woman’s business enterprises.
  9. Conducting a procurement exceeding $150,000 without conducting a detailed cost or price analysis.
  10. Not carefully documenting all steps of a procurement to create a record if questions arise potentially years later.