FEMA Public Assistance Program

Helping Communities Obtain Disaster Recovery Funds

FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program provides the compensation and assistance necessary for state, local and tribal governments (as well as some non-profit organizations) to quickly respond to and recover from natural disasters or declared emergencies. Through the program, FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for projects like debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and certain other buildings.

The process for public assistance grants requires applicants to demonstrate that they are eligible entities, that the emergency work performed was eligible, that the particular facility was damaged and eligible, that the construction project to repair or replace the damaged facility is eligible, that the cost incurred in performing the eligible work was reasonable—and that there are no other obstacles to receipt of a grant. Some applicants are denied eligibility for emergency work performed and costs incurred even before FEMA personnel arrive. Others dispute eligibility determinations before construction of a project begins. Others experience a cost disallowance based on post-construction audits.

Baker Donelson’s Disaster Recovery Team is dedicated to helping public and private entities obtain the compensation they are entitled to under the FEMA Public Assistance Grant Program.

How We Can Help

Problems can arise when a grant recipient inadvertently mischaracterizes the actual work performed in a recovery effort or does not describe the work in the exacting detail that FEMA requires. Other common problems involve disputes over the compensation rate paid to contractors performing the work.

Our team can help your organization clear up these problems, giving you a better chance of having your claims approved, and getting you the compensation you need and deserve.

Our services are comprehensive and include:

  • Reviewing your Project Worksheet and grant approval documentation.
  • Reviewing all of the communications between your organization and FEMA, including e-mails.
  • Maximizing eligibility for FEMA grant funds.
  • Minimizing the possibility of later disallowance of fund costs or de-obligation of the grant.
  • Obtaining market-specific information regarding procurement activities, contractor pay rates and other expenses.
  • Developing clear and complete documentation that can satisfy FEMA and presenting it for approval.

In the process, we can:

  • Help minimize reduction in FEMA grants made as a result of disaster procurement issues, insurance coverage and other “duplication of efforts.”
  • Identify and implement potential opportunities for adding hazard mitigation and upgrade costs to grant benefits.

Our firm also provides knowledgeable counsel in the event of a FEMA audit or appeal.