Public Assistance

After a natural or man-made event that causes extensive damage, FEMA coordinates with the state to implement the Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program.

State and federal officials conduct a "Preliminary Damage Assessment," a joint assessment used to determine the magnitude and impact of an event's damage. The State uses the results of the Preliminary Damage Assessment to determine if the situation is beyond the combined capabilities of the State and local resources and to verify the need for supplemental Federal assistance. The Governor uses the results to frame his request for a Federal Major Disaster Declaration.

Based on the Governor's request, the President may declare that a major disaster or emergency exists, thus activating an array of Federal programs to assist in the response and recovery effort. Not all programs, however, are activated for every disaster. The determination of which programs are activated is based on the needs found during damage assessment and any subsequent information that may be discovered.

The mission of FEMA's Public Assistance Grant Program is to provide assistance to State, Tribal and local governments and certain types of Private Nonprofit organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President.

Through the Public Assistance Program, FEMA provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations. The Public Assistance Program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.

The Federal share of assistance is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration. The grantee (usually the state) determines how the non-federal share (up to 25 percent) is split with the subgrantees (eligible applicants).

Helpful information:

Additional resources:

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