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Public Assistance

Eligible Applicants 

The Public Assistance program provides cost reimbursement aid to local governments (state, county, local, municipal authorities, and school districts) and certain private non-profit agencies (educational institutions, utilities, emergency services, medical facilities, custodial care facilities and others that provide health and safety services of a governmental nature). All must be open to the general public and have IRS or state certification of their private, non-profit status. 


Eligible Facilities 


Generally, buildings, works, systems, built or manufactured equipment and certain improved and maintained natural features which are owned by a public or private non-profit entity are considered eligible. 


Eligible Work


BASIC CRITERIA - Must be required as a result of the Presidentially-declared Major Disaster, be located within the designated disaster area, be the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant, and no other federal agency may have statutory authority to provide funding. 

DEBRIS REMOVAL - When in the public interest to eliminate an immediate threat to life, public health and safety; OR eliminate an immediate threat of significant damage to improved property; OR to ensure the economic recovery of the affected community. 

EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE MEASURES - Measures taken to save lives, protect public health and safety, and to protect improved property. Must eliminate or lessen the threat. 

PERMANENT RESTORATION - Restore the disaster-damaged parts of the facility to pre-disaster condition and function, plus upgrade restored parts to meet current codes and standards. Road systems, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, public utility systems, and parks / recreation facilities are the general categories of property eligible. May replace facility if cost of repair is more than 50% of replacement cost.


Eligible Costs 


FORCE ACCOUNT - (Applicant's own labor, equipment, and materials) - Equipment use at FEMA use rates, materials at applicant's cost, labor at applicant's cost including fringe benefits. Cost of regular time labor of permanent employees performing debris removal and emergency protective measures is not eligible. 

CONTRACT - Reasonable and necessary costs to perform required and FEMA-approved work. All contracting and procurement laws must be followed. Contracting is the responsibility of the applicant.


Public Assistance Applicant Handbook 


PEMA has developed a handbook which provides an overview of the FEMA managed Public Assistance Program authorized by the Stafford Act. This handbook is designed to provide the Pennsylvania Applicant an understanding of the provisions of the program as well as the procedures to apply for Federal Disaster Assistance and the details of the administrative requirements under the program. PEMA's Public Assistance Applicant Handbook is provided in Adobe PDF format and is easy to navigate using the bookmarks or by mousing-over the Sections in the Contents pages. 



Preliminary Damage Assessment - Site Estimate



Disaster Debris Management 


Debris Removal 



Debris Management Brochure - FEMA 329