Presidential Declarations

Presidential Declarations

The presidential declaration will establish:

  • Federal cost share
  • Type of incident
  • Type of assistance
  • Incident period
  • Designated area(s)
  • Federal Coordinating Officer

The following slides take a closer look at each of the components of a presidential disaster declaration.

After the President has declared an emergency or major disaster and if a State, Territorial, or Tribal Government determines that an incident may exceed State, Territorial, Tribal, and Local government capabilities to respond, it requests a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment with FEMA. Federal, State, Territorial, Tribal, Local governments, and certain private nonprofit organization officials work together to estimate and document the impact and magnitude of the incident.

The Governor or Tribal Chief Executive must request a declaration from the President through FEMA within 30 days of the incident. FEMA may extend the deadline if the Governor or Tribal Chief Executive submits a written time extension request within 30 days of the incident stipulating the reason for the delay.

Presidential Declaration: Federal Cost Share

Upon a Presidential Declaration, the Public Assistance Program is subjected to a Federal cost share.

The Federal share has a minimum of 75 percent of eligible costs:

  • If Federal obligations, excluding administrative costs, meet or exceed a qualifying threshold, FEMA may recommend an increase up to 90 percent
  • The Federal cost share for Emergency Work may be increased in limited circumstances if warranted

Presidential Declaration: Type of Incident

The President provides authorization for Federal assistance through two types of declarations. The declarations designate the type of incident.

Emergency Declarations:

  • An incident that the President determines warrants supplemental emergency assistance to save lives and protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe

Major Disaster Declarations:

  • An incident is any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or regardless of cause, fire, flood, or explosion
  • Major Disaster Declarations may include a combination of incident types, such as storms and landslides

Presidential Declaration: Types of Assistance

The declaration also designates the types of authorized Federal assistance. The President may authorize assistance to:

  • Individuals and households through its Individual Assistance program
  • State, Territorial, Tribal, and Local governments, and certain types of private nonprofit organizations through its Public Assistanceprogram

The type of assistance available may vary among designated areas and FEMA may add additional types of assistance after the declaration. However, for FEMA to consider adding additional types of assistance, the Governor or Tribal Chief Executive must request the assistance within 30 days of the declaration date or the end of the incident period, whichever is later. FEMA may extend the deadline if the Governor or Tribal Chief Executive submits a written time extension request within the 30-day deadline with justification of the inability to meet the deadline.

Required Forms and FEMA-State/Territory/Tribe Agreement (1 of 2)

Before FEMA can provide any assistance through the Public Assistance Program, the declared State, Territorial, and/or Tribal Government must submit form SF 424, which is an Application for Federal Assistance, and form SF 424 - D, which includes assurances.

FEMA provides Public Assistance funds via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Payment Management System.

  • If the President issues a declaration for a Tribal Government for the first time, the Tribal Government must also submit form SF-1199A (a Payment Management System Access Form) and a Direct Deposit Form to obtain a FEMA-specific Payment Management System account before FEMA can provide funding.

Required Forms and FEMA-State/Territory/Tribe Agreement (2 of 2)

Additionally, after every declaration, the applicable State, Territorial, or Tribal Government must enter into an agreement with FEMA regarding the understanding, commitments, and conditions under which FEMA will provide assistance (FEMA-State/Territory/Tribe Agreement).

FEMA and the Governor or Tribal Chief Executive must sign this agreement before FEMA provides assistance. If necessary, because of exigent circumstances, FEMA may authorize essential emergency services or housing assistance under the Individuals and Households Program while the agreement is in process for signature.

Presidential Declaration: Incident Period

The presidential declaration also designates the incident period.

The incident period is:

  • The span of time during which the federally declared incident occurs. This period varies in length, depending on the type of incident.

Presidential Declaration: Designated Areas

The declaration likewise designates which areas (e.g., county, parish, city, Tribal Government) are eligible to receive Federal assistance.

FEMA may add additional areas after the initial designation. However, for FEMA to consider adding an additional area, the Governor or Governor's Authorized Representative or, for Tribal declarations, the Tribal Chief Executive or Tribal Authorized Representative must request the addition within 30 days of the declaration date or the end of the incident period, whichever is later.

FEMA may extend the deadline if the Governor, Governor's Authorized Representative, Tribal Chief Executive, or Tribal Authorized Representative submits a written time extension request within the 30-day deadline with justification of the inability to meet the deadline.

Presidential Declaration: Federal Coordinating Officer

The declaration also identifies the Federal Coordinating Officer. The Federal Coordinating Officer works in partnership with the State Coordinating Officer and Governor's Authorized Representative (or for Tribal declarations, the Tribal Coordinating Officer and Tribal Authorized Representative) to coordinate Federal resources and disaster assistance programs.

FEMA and the State, Territorial, or Tribal Government may initially operate at Emergency Operations Centers and, when warranted, subsequently establish a Joint Field Office for Federal, State, Territorial, and Tribal government coordination and administrative activities.

FOOT NOTES

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