Public Assistance Program

The Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program is designed to provide supplemental financial assistance to state, local, and tribal government and certain types of private non-profit organizations whose buildings or infrastructures were damaged by a disaster. The grant can be used for costs associated with response and recovery from major disasters or emergencies after a declared presidential declaration.

Every debris removal, emergency protective measure, repair, restoration or replacement of a damaged facility identified by the State or local representatives is considered a project that is eligible for PA reimbursement.

PA Process

After a disaster, the state does a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) to determine the extent of damages and economic impact on the entire state. When the PDA is complete, the State decides whether to request federal assistance (the decision is made on a county by county basis). If a request for a presidential declaration for PA is granted, the PA process can begin:

  • Applicants’ Briefing: Agencies or organization who may apply for PA learn about the eligibility requirements and what costs will be reimbursed by the federal government (The federal government pays at least 75% of approved costs/projects. The municipality or organization is responsible for remaining costs.)
  • Request for Public Assistance: An eligible applicant completes an application to make an official request for PA.
  • Kickoff Meeting: State and/or federal officials meet with individual applicants who have been approved to receive PA. Officials review details of approved projects and answer questions specific to the applicant and/or the project.
  • Project formulation: The applicant provides detailed documentation on scope(s) of work and cost(s) incurred for the project.
  • Project review: Federal officials review documentation and validate that all expenses are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Obligation: Funds are forwarded to the State, and the State pays the applicant.
  • Project closeout: Applicants submit all required documentation
pa process

The PA process, depicted above, is described in detail in RIEMA’s Public Assistance Booklet and in FEMA’s Public Assistance Applicant Handbook and in Frequently Asked Questions.