Public Assistance Program Authorities

Public Assistance Program Authorities

FEMA provides this assistance based on authority in statutes, Executive Orders, regulations, and policies. If an entity does not comply with all applicable statutes, Executive Orders, regulations, and policies, FEMA may take one of several actions including disallowing all or part of the cost of the project not in compliance.

The mission of FEMA's Public Assistance Program is to provide assistance to State, Territorial, 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 restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain private nonprofit organizations. The Public Assistance Program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures.

Public Assistance Program Statutes

Statutes are Federal laws passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President. All Public Assistance Program assistance must comply with all applicable statutes. The statute that authorizes FEMA to provide assistance via the Public Assistance Program is the Robert T. Stafford Act. The following sections of the Stafford Act specifically authorize the assistance FEMA provides under the Public Assistance Program:

  • Title I - Findings, Declarations and Definitions
  • Title III - Major Disaster and Emergency Assistance Administration
  • 311, Insurance
  • 312, Duplication of Benefits
  • 324, Management Costs
  • Title IV - Major Disaster Assistance Programs (applies to Major Disaster Declarations)
  • 403, Essential Assistance
  • 406, Repair, Restoration, and Replacement of Damaged Facilities
  • 407, Debris Removal
  • 428, Public Assistance Program Alternative Procedures
  • For more information on Alternative Procedures, please refer to IS-1005 Public Assistance Program Alternative Procedures Independent Study course and visit  
  • Title V - Emergency Assistance Programs (applies to Emergency Declarations)
  • 502, Federal Emergency Assistance
  • Title VII - Miscellaneous
  • 705, Disaster Grant Closeout Procedures

Public Assistance Program Regulations

Regulations are Federal rules with the force and effect of law that implement a statute based on a Federal agency's interpretation of that statute. FEMA and any entity receiving assistance must comply with all applicable Federal Regulations.

FEMA publishes Public Assistance Program rules in the following parts of 44 Code of Federal Regulations:

  • Part 206 Subpart G, Public Assistance Project Administration;
  • Part 206 Subpart H, Public Assistance Eligibility;
  • Part 206 Subpart I, Public Assistance Insurance Requirements; and
  • Part 207, Management Costs.

The Office of Management and Budget establishes regulations regarding administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements in 2 Code of Federal Regulations Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.

Environmental and Historic Preservation Requirements

Several statutes, Executive Orders, and regulations establish requirements to protect the environment and preserve the Nation's historic and prehistoric resources. FEMA must review each Public Assistance project to ensure the work complies with applicable Federal environmental and historic preservation laws and their implementing regulations, and applicable Executive Orders.

The Applicant is responsible for complying with applicable Federal, State, Territorial, or Tribal environmental and historic preservation laws even if FEMA is not providing Public Assistance funding for all of the work.

The Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide

FEMA issues policy to articulate the Agency's intent and direction in applying statutory and regulatory authority to guide decision-making, achieve desired outcomes, and ensure consistent implementation of programs across the Nation.

FEMA generally publishes proposed Public Assistance policy language in the Federal Register for public comment prior to publishing in the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide.

The Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide combines Public Assistance policy into a single volume and provides an overview of the Public Assistance Program implementation process with links to other publications and documents that provide additional process details.


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