Public Assistance (PA)

What is PA?

The Public Assistance Program is a government-to-government grant program. Public Assistance (PA) is a grant program to assist state and local governments and certain private nonprofit (PNP) entities Disaster Relief. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as Amended (Stafford Act), Title 42 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) § 5121 et seq., authorizes the President to provide Federal assistance when the magnitude of an incident or threatened incident exceeds the affected State, Territorial, Indian Tribal, and local government capabilities to respond or recover.

The declaration designates the type of incident (e.g., hurricane, tsunami, or earthquake). For Emergency Declarations, an incident is any instance that the President determines warrants supplemental emergency assistance to save lives and protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe. For 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, any fire, flood, or explosion.14 Major Disaster Declarations may include a combination of incident types, such as storms and landslides.

Current PA Local Jurisdiction Information

  • Eligibility Details

FEMA provides assistance to eligible Applicants, which are defined below. FEMA must first determine whether an Applicant is eligible before evaluating the Applicant’s claim.

See Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG) V3.1 for additional information.

Local Governments

The following types of local governments are eligible Applicants:

  • Counties and parishes
  • Municipalities, cities, towns, boroughs, and townships
  • Local public authorities
  • School districts
  • Intrastate districts
  • Councils of governments (regardless of whether incorporated as nonprofit corporations under State law)
  • Regional and interstate government entities
  • Agencies or instrumentalities of local governments
  • State-recognized Tribes
  • Special districts established under State law

The State or a political subdivision of the State may submit applications on behalf of rural communities, unincorporated towns or villages, and other public entities not listed above.

  • PA Timeline
  • Definitions
    • Recipient: A non-Federal entity that receives a Federal award3directly from a Federal awarding agency to carry out an activity under a Federal
    • Applicant: A non-Federal entity submitting an application to the Recipient for assistance under the Recipient’s Federal
    • Pass-through entity: A non-Federal entity that provides a sub-award to an Applicant to carry out part of a Federal
    • Sub-recipient: An Applicant that receives a sub-award from a pass-through entity to carry out part of a Federal