Update: FEMA Assistance to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Under the Presidential National Emergency Declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is authorized to reimburse local governments for costs associated with “emergency protective measures” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These emergency protective measures are defined in Category B of the Public Assistance Program of the Stafford Act. A summary of eligibility expenses follows:

Emergency Protective Measures (Category B)

In accordance with the Presidential National Emergency Declaration, FEMA will reimburse local governments up to 75% of the cost for actions taken before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives, and to protect public health and safety. Examples of measures that may be eligible for reimbursement include:

  • Warning of risks and hazards;
  • Emergency mass care;
  • Transportation, care, shelter, and essential needs for humans affected by the outbreak and spread of an the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Protection, security for an eligible facility and areas;
  • Provision of food, water, ice, and other essential items at central distribution points;
  • Temporary generators for facilities that provide health and safety services (this may include mobile health services);
  • Temporary facilities essential community services (this may include clinics and mobile health care units);
  • Emergency operations centers to coordinate and direct the response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Removal of health and safety hazards.

Congress and the Administration may approve additional reimbursements for expenses of other essential protective measures by passing supplemental appropriations bills or administrative actions.

What should local governments do?

  1. Immediately contact your State designated Public Assistance (PA) Representative. If you don’t know who your State PA Representative is, you can contact:
  2. Work with the State PA Representative and the FEMA Public Assistance Coordinator (PAC) Crew Leader who will be assigned to you to determine if facilities, work, and costs meet Public Assistance Program eligibility criteria under the Presidential National Emergency Declaration.
  3. Work with the FEMA PAC to help guide you through the steps to obtaining funding.
  4. The FEMA PAC Crew Leader will advise you on eligibility issues, obtain specialists to assist with projects, and approve certain project costs.

You can find additional information about obtaining FEMA federal assistance here and more information on working with your state led public assistance program here.