Flood: Understanding and Recovering from One of Nature's Worst Disasters



FEMA Public Assistance Program

Overview of the Key Steps and the Potential Pitfalls in the Grant Process

By Jeff Shaw

A discussion of flood insurance would not be complete without commentary regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program. Once a major disaster declaration is made by the president, this voluntary program provides supplemental reimbursement for the repair or replacement of infrastructure and facilities to pre-disaster condition. In addition, additional funding is obtainable for codes and standards, and mitigating future hazards. Typically, FEMA funds 75 percent of eligible costs while the remaining 25 percent is borne by the state and applicant (cost share). However, in special circumstances, the FEMA share can be as much as 100 percent (with the exception of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is statutorily capped at 75 percent). Since this is a federal grant program, applicants seeking federal reimbursement must adhere to stringent program guidelines and meet all eligibility requirements.

Eligible applicants include state agencies, municipalities, Native American tribal organizations and certain private nonprofit organizations.

In order for a disaster-related expenditure to be considered as part of an eligible public assistance application, it must meet the following minimum criteria:

Key Steps in the Process

The FEMA disaster recovery process follows a standard course of events. The key steps are as follows: