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Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness. 2009. Education. Outreach. Program. Overview. What is Public Assistance?.

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Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness

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Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness





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What is Public Assistance?

  • “Federal Assistance provided under the provisions of the Stafford Act to State and Local Governments and for certain eligible Private Non-Profit (PNP) Organizations. The PA Program does not cover Assistance for the direct benefit of Individuals and Families” Code of Federal Regulations Title 44 Section 206

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Responsibilities of Stakeholders

  • Responsibilities of FEMA

    • Manage the PA program

    • Approve the grants

    • Provide technical assistance to the State and Applicants

  • Responsibilities of State

    • Act as Grantee for the PA Program

    • Educate potential Applicants

    • Work with FEMA to manage the program

    • Implement and monitor the grants awarded under the program

  • Responsibilities of Applicant

    • Identify damages

    • Provide sufficient data for FEMA to develop an accurate scope and cost estimate for doing the work and approving grants

    • Manage the projects funded under the PA program

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Sequence of Events

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Gather Information

  • Staff names and positions, and hours worked each day

  • Equipment, operator name, and hours equipment operated each day

  • Photographs of damages

  • Description and location of damages

  • Estimated and actual costs of eligible expenses

  • Insurance information

  • Copies of lease agreements

  • Copies of bridge and road construction inspection reports

  • Copies of your written overtime and/or compensatory time policy

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Basic Applicant Forms

  • Request for Public Assistance (RPA)

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

    • Designation of Applicant’s Agent

    • W-9

    • Assurances-Construction Programs

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Project Worksheet Formulation

  • Identifies the Damage, Dimensions and Description=Triple D, Executive Summary,

  • Outlines the scope of work

  • Outlines eligible costs

  • Only approved work is eligible; FEMA determines eligibility

  • FEMA will use their Cost Codes, Equipment Rates and Cost Estimating Format (CEF) to establish an estimated cost for the scope of work

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Special Considerations

  • Consider environmental and historical issues in all work

  • Inform FEMA and the State if you may be affected by environment or historic laws and request technical assistance

  • Non-compliance could result in a loss of funding

  • Maintain all correspondence and documents to support compliance

  • Structures over 50 years old must be reviewed by FEMA’s Historical Review team for reimbursement

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Eligible Applicants

  • Eligible Applicants include:

    • State Agencies

    • Local Governments

    • Federal Indian Tribes

    • Eligible Private Non-Profit Operations

      • PNPs that provide essential type of services to the general public, such as medical, custodial care, educational, emergency, or utility and are tax exempt under Section 501 (c), (d) or (e)

      • PNPs that provide non-critical services must apply to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for assistance

      • Not all PNPs are eligible

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Eligible Facility

To be eligible for Public Assistance funding a facility must:

  • Be the responsibility of the applicant

  • Be located in the designated disaster area

  • Not be under the specific authority of another Federal Agency

  • Be in active use at the time of the disaster

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Eligible Work

  • An item of work can be considered eligible if:

    • It is the result of a Declared Event

    • It is within the Designated Disaster Area

    • It occurred within the Incident Period

    • It is the responsibility (ownership) of the Applicant

    • It is not within the authority of another Federal Program

    • The facility/location was operational prior to the event

    • The total cost exceeds $1,000.00

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Work that is often Ineligible

  • An item of work will generally be considered ineligible if it:

    • Does not meet the requirements as described in previous slide

    • Will be covered by any other funds (duplication of benefits)

    • Contains idle time, such as rest, meals, breaks, or on-call

    • Is normal/routing work

    • Contains costs that exceed what is considered reasonable

    • Is work performed on a site not owned by the eligible applicant

    • Is work that completes repairs beyond pre-disaster condition (without prior approval from the State and FEMA)

    • Is work performed on facilities under construction, and is under the responsibility of the contractor

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Eligible Cost

  • Costs that are reasonable and necessary to accomplish the eligible work

  • Comply with Federal, State, and local requirements for procurement

  • Do not include (or are reduced by) insurance proceeds, salvage values, and other credits

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Small Project vs. Large Project

  • Projects of less than $1,000 in estimated costs are not eligible. However, it is acceptable to combine sites into one PW

  • If the estimated cost of a project is less that $60,900(FY 08), the project is processed as a small project

  • If the estimated cost of a project is equal to or exceeds $60,900, the project is processed as a large project

  • Small Projects are generally processed quicker and require no documentation up-front

  • Large Projects will be processed only upon receipt of expense information

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Program Management

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Direct Administrative Cost

  • Costs that can be tracked, charged and accounted for directly to a specific project, such as staff time to complete a field inspection and preparation of a PW (FEMA Recovery Policy 9525.9)

  • If a project is completed when the PW is prepared, actual direct administrative costs (labor, equipment or other expenses) will be included in the PW

  • If a project is not completed when the PW is prepared, an estimate of direct administrative costs can be assigned to the project and included in the PW. These costs cannot be based on a percentage of project costs. However, average of 2% is common

  • Expenses incurred by the applicant are subject to the current cost-share rate for the declaration

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Categories of Work

  • Emergency Work

    • A: Debris Clearance

    • B: Emergency Protective Measure

  • Permanent Work

    • C: Road Systems

    • D: Water Control Facilities

    • E: Public Buildings and Equipment

    • F: Utilities

    • G: Parks, Recreational and Other

      • Projects are grouped into Categories based on type of damage/system/method of work or boundaries/organization

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Category A: Debris Clearance

  • Clearance of trees and woody debris; building wreckage; vehicles and other disaster-related material deposited on public and, in very limited cases, private property

  • Examples include: removal of debris from a street or highway to allow the safe passage of emergency vehicles, debris removal from public property to eliminate health and safety hazards

  • Who can perform debris clearance?

  • Contract tips

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Category B: Emergency Protective Measures

  • Measures taken before, during and immediately after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, and protect improved public and private property to stabilize situation

  • Examples include: sandbagging, food and shelter, emergency pumping, emergency protective levees to protect the public, health and safety hazards

  • “The calm before the storm”

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Category C: Road Systems

  • Know your boundaries

  • Federal Aid routes are not eligible

  • Repair on non-Federal and state roads, bridges and associated features such as shoulders, ditches, culverts, lighting and signs

  • Must have been functional at the time of the disaster

  • Alligator cracking and pre-existing damages due to lack of maintenance are not eligible

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Category D: Water Control Facilities

  • Repair of irrigation systems, drainage channels and pumping facilities

  • Repair of dams and flood control channels fall under Category D, however the eligibility of these facilities is RESTRICTED

  • Facilities under USACE not eligible for FEMA assistance

  • Can restore pre-flood capacity only

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Category E: Public Buildings and Equipment

  • Repair or replacement of buildings, including their contents and systems, heavy equipment and vehicles

  • Must restore to pre-disaster design in accordance with current, properly documented and implemented (adopted) codes and standards

  • Repair vs. Replace; 50% Rule

  • Relocation may be possible

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Repair vs. Replace, 50% Rule

  • If a facility is damaged to the point where it may be more cost effective to replace the facility rather than repair it, the 50% rule should be applied

  • If the repair cost, divided by the replacement cost, is greater than 50%, the replacement cost is eligible (Disaster Assistance Policy 9524.4)

  • Costs considered do not include codes and standards upgrades, demolition, site work or project management costs

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Codes / Standards Upgrades

  • Must be in writing with supporting documentation available

  • Must be adopted prior to the disaster

  • Must be uniformly applied

  • Must be utilized and enforced

  • Must apply to the type of work required

  • Only applies to the damaged element

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Category F: Utilities

  • Repair of water treatment and delivery systems, power generation facilities and distribution lines, and sewage collection and treatment facilities

  • Establishing temporary, emergency services in the event of a utility shut-down may be eligible

  • Loss of inventory may be eligible when documented

  • Increased operating expenses and loss of revenue are not eligible

  • Limited inspection services may be eligible, but must be approved in advance

  • Maintenance records are required

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Category G: Parks, Recreation and Other

  • Repair and restoration of public parks, playgrounds, pools, cemeteries and improved beaches

  • Also a catch-all for any work or facility that cannot be characterized adequately by Categories A-F

  • Public park facilities, structures and recreational equipment may be eligible

  • Replacement of trees and grass is usually not eligible

  • Permanent restoration to the sand of natural beaches is ineligible

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Cost overruns/Project Worksheet Versions

  • A version is an amendment made to a PW made when there is a change to the scope of work or cost associated with the project.

  • Applicant should inform the State and FEMA of the need for a version in writing as soon as the need is realized

  • A cost overrun can occur when actual expenses exceed the amount obligated by FEMA

  • Applicant should ensure that the overrun is still within the approved scope of work and should provide documentation and justification for the overrun

  • Small project overruns may be addressed with a version, but will likely wait until Close-out

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Time Limits

  • Applicants must make every attempt to start and complete work in a timely manner

  • Each project has a completion date which begins from the declaration date:

    • Debris Removal and Emergency Work: 6 months

    • Permanent Work: 18 months

  • Time Extension requests must be submitted to the State in writing if the work will not be completed on time

    • The extension request should include the project number, a justification of the need for the extension and a proposed date for completion. The State will provide a letter of approval or disapproval after review and consideration

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  • Insurance proceeds will be deducted from the eligible costs to prevent duplication of funds

  • Must obtain & maintain insurance coverage equal to or greater than the amount of eligible damages

  • FEMA requires the Applicant to maintain National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coverage on all buildings located in a special hazard flood zone. The NFIP can provide coverage separately for buildings and contents up to a maximum of $500,000 each

  • The State will need a copy of insurance settlement payment, statement of loss with supporting documentation

  • Applicants cannot claim self insurance

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Alternate Projects

  • Alternate Projects occur when an Applicant determines that the public welfare would not be best served by restoring the damaged facility or its function to the pre-disaster design. The function of the damaged facility must be abandoned.

  • FEMA approves Alternate Projects

  • Additional project completion requirements and cost share and/or funding caps will be imposed

  • Requests should be made to the State Coordinating Officer within 1 year of kickoff meeting

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Improved Projects

  • Improved Projects occur when an Applicant determines that additional improvements above the pre-disaster condition are wanted.

  • State approves Improved Projects

  • Requests should be made to the State Coordinating Officer

  • Tied to completion date of permanent work

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406 Mitigation

  • Available to allow flexibility of “upgrades”

  • Meant to allow protective measures against future disaster damage

  • Must be shown to be reasonable and the cost must be justifiable. May require benefits cost analysis

  • Must be requested and approved in advance

  • Applied to damage element

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Record Keeping,

Documentation and the

Reimbursement Process

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  • Why document

  • How to document

  • What to document

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Why documentation is important

Accurate documentation will assist you to:

  • Collect the information necessary to develop your disaster projects

  • Recover eligible costs

  • Prepare for audits or financial reviews

  • Undocumented eligible expenses are very difficult to get reimbursed

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Required Documentation

Items required during the reimbursement process include the following:

  • Reimbursement Request Form (RRF)

  • Summary Records

  • Invoices

  • Contracts

  • Evidence of Proper Procurement

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Types of Work (Summary Records)

  • Force Account Labor

  • Force Account Equipment

  • Materials

  • Rented Equipment

  • Contract Work

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Force Account Labor

  • Work performed by Applicant’s own staff directly related to the disaster (Recovery Policy 9525.7)

  • Documentation needed:

    • Force Account Labor Summary Form listing name, job title, regular and overtime hours, total hours, rate of pay, benefit rate, and total dollars

    • Fringe Benefits Calculation Sheet

    • Pre-disaster Overtime Policy

    • Timesheets/Time Records should be maintained by Applicant

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Fringe Benefit Calculation

Fringe benefits for Force Account Labor is eligible

  • Because certain items in a benefit package are not dependent on hours worked, like health insurance, the fringe benefit rate will be different forregular and overtime hours

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Overtime Policy

  • Policy must be in place at time of event

  • Policy must be consistently applied by the jurisdiction

  • If Police and Fire have different policies these must be clearly defined

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Force Account Equipment

Equipment owned by the Applicant and used for disaster-related work

Documentation needed:

  • Force Account Equipment Summary Form listing description or type of equipment, horsepower, operator’s name, dates and hours used, total hours, equipment rates (using FEMA cost codes) and total dollars

  • Payroll records and usage logs to support expenses should be maintained by Applicant

  • Proof of equipment ownership

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Items purchased OR pulled from inventory related to the disaster

Documentation needed:

  • Material Summary Form listing vendor, description, quantity, unit price, total price, date purchased, date used

  • Inventory list with cost records

  • Procurement information

  • Contract (if applicable)

  • Cancelled checks and purchase orders should be maintained by Applicant

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  • Four (4) Methods Accepted by FEMA (44CFR 13.36)

    • Small Purchase Procedures

      • Items less than $100,000

    • Sealed Bids (formal advertising)

      • Preferred method for construction contracts

    • Competitive Proposals

      • Often used for procuring architectural or engineering professional services

    • Non-Competitive Proposals

      • Proposal received form only one source; requires cost analysis

        All contract procurement for emergency and permanent work should be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition

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Rented Equipment

Equipment rented to complete disaster-related work

Documentation needed:

  • Rented Equipment Summary Form listing description or type of equipment, date and hours used, rate per hour, total cost vendor, invoice number

  • Rental documentation which may include procurement information or contract

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Contract Work

  • Work performed by contracted labor directly related to the disaster

  • Documentation needed:

    • Contract Work Summary Form listing date, contractor, invoice number and amount of invoice

    • Invoices (signed by Contractor and A&E firm when appropriate)

    • Procurement information (requests for bids, copy of advertisement soliciting bids, bids from at least three vendors)

    • Contract signed by both parties

  • Ensure that costs are reasonable and are competitively bid

  • Avoid debarred or suspended contractors (Excluded Parties Listing System)

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  • Four (4) Types Accepted by FEMA (all should be acquired through a competitive process):

    • Lump Sum

    • Unit Price

    • Cost + Fixed Fee

    • Time and Materials:

      • Limited Period, no more than 70 hours

      • Monitoring

      • Cost Ceiling/Not to exceed

  • Avoid contracts that are cost plus percentage and contingent on FEMA funding

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Express Pay System

  • Express Pay System (EPS) is a voluntary program on the part of the Applicant (Opt-In form)

  • The goal of EPS is to deliver reimbursable funds to the Applicant at an accelerated pace

  • Payments processed through the EPS do not mean that the RRF is approved. All RRF’s subject to detailed review.

  • Cursory Review vs. Detailed Review

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Advance Payments

  • Available for construction costs, A&E costs and general advances

  • Some advance payments are disaster specific

  • Must be requested in writing to the State and supported with documentation

  • Will be reviewed by the State before approval

  • Can request up to 75% of obligated PW total

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Louisiana Public Assistance

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Louisiana Public Assistance (LAPA)

  • Website:

  • Restricted access for those with no account

  • Contains valuable information about your account such as projects, expenses, payments, and Quarterly Reports

  • Contact the LAPA Helpdesk at (225) 346-4185 if assistance is needed

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Quarterly Project Progress Reports

  • Must be submitted Quarterly - 44 CFR 206.204(f)

  • Required information includes: actual dollars expended, anticipated total, percentage of work completed, completion date and a general status comment

  • Required on all category C-G small projects until project completion

  • Required on all large projects

  • May impose sanctions if fail to comply

  • Information provided is extremely useful to the State


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Quarterly Project Progress Reports


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  • Documentation of all work completed and expenses paid must be available for review

  • All insurance documentation and settlement information must be available as well as evidence that required insurance has been obtained

  • All appeals must be resolved

  • Applicant must request closeout, complete a P4 form, and sign closeout letters

  • Large Projects will be fully 100% reviewed and reconciled

  • Small Projects will complete a Project Netting process

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Record Retention

  • Applicants must retain documentation for at least 3 years from the date they receive official notification from GOHSEP that both their large and small projects have been closed (44 CFR Part 13.42)

  • All projects must be closed

  • All documentation pertaining to a specific project should be filed with that project worksheet

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Helpful Contact Information

  • GOHSEP Independence Office (225) 925-7500

  • Joint Field Office (JFO)

  • 415 N 15th Street

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802

  • Public Assistance Officer: Johnny Gonzales (225) 379-4028

  • Assistant Section Chief: Lynne Browning (225) 338-7342

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Helpful Resources

  • FEMA 321 (PA Digest)

  • FEMA 322 (PA Guide)

  • 44 CFR, Parts 206 and 13.36

  •’s Website)


  • (FEMA’s Inspector General’s Website)

  • (GOHSEP’s Website)

  • (Excluded Parties Listing Service)

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Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness





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