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When Disaster Strikes your area, basic major steps in the FEMA public assistance program......
STEP 1. Contact your insurance company and file a claim. Look to see if the President of the Unites States has declared your area to be a major disaster or emergency. If yes, continue.
STEP 2. Download the Public Assistance Guide and Public Assistance Handbook from the Internet. Request for Public Assistance generally is made through the State you reside. FEMA is a reimbursable grant program. The State is considered the Grantee, and political sub-division is the sub-grantee. Additionally, as a general rule, focus on the word REIMBURSABLE grant program. Generally, FEMA pays AFTER you pay. This is an important consideration for cash flow.
STEP 3. Once you receive notice your application is approved, a Public Assistance Coordinator (PAC) will be assigned to you. He will contact you and, during a KICK-OFF meeting, explain to your the FEMA public assistance (PA) process. Kick OFF meeting dates are very important because they start the clock for completion of work unless extensions are granted.
STEP 4. Coordination with insurance company and FEMA for scoping damages. While this may seem mundane, there are many considerations in the process. Insurance companies may hire engineers to help assess scope. If your buildings are flooded, the National Flood Insurance Program may get involved. The FEMA PA program generally considers more damage characteristics than insurance, such as environmental impact, historical Preservation or impact on certain classes of individuals (NEPA). Additional considerations are made in the event you wish to use the FEMA reimbursement for an alternate project or an improved project.
STEP 5. Creation and negotiation of Project Worksheets(PW) are vitally important in this process. The applicant needs to understand the PW is the basis for reimbursement throughout the entire PA process. Project worksheets should be FULLY documented, although as bids are created, work is performed, and change orders are made, FEMA has the right to approve such change orders and create newer versions of the PW.
STEP 6. Contracts are let, work is performed and applicant is invoiced. Understand procurement for work must be compliant with the applicant's normal procurement policies and meet all State and Federal Laws. This includes such items as the Davis Bacon Act in construction. For emergencies which are a matter of public health and safety, special consideration can be made and reimbursement approved.
STEP 7. Invoices are submitted to FEMA via State Emergency management and payment is made. Provided the scope of work performed matches the FEMA Project Worksheet, FEMA will review documentation and either approve or deny payment.
WARNING: These are BROAD stroke steps and there are many other considerations in the PA process. Items such as Categories of Damages, Hazard Mitigation, Long-term recovery, and OIG audits are critical considerations. Call us for a free consultation and learn more.