FEMA to Retroactively Reimburse Counties for COVID-19-Related Emergency Assistance
February 4, 2021
On January 21, President Biden issued a presidential memorandum directing FEMA to fully reimburse state and local governments for the use of the National Guard to assist in pandemic response efforts, as well as other COVID-19-related emergency assistance. It should be noted that the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration – issued by the Trump administration on March 13, 2020 – provided such assistance at a 75 percent federal cost share. The Biden administration essentially waives the 25 percent local match.
The president provided additional direction on February 2, ordering the agency to retroactively reimburse local governments for emergency costs incurred since the start of the pandemic (January 20, 2020). This means that all work eligible under FEMA’s existing COVID-19 policies, including increasing medical capacity, non-congregate sheltering, and emergency food distribution will now be fully reimbursed by the federal government. For projects that have already been approved, FEMA will amend the existing awards to adjust the federal funding amounts. According to the agency, no action will be required by the applicants.
Eligible expenses include (but are not limited to):
- Emergency Operation Center costs
- Training specific to the declared event
- Disinfection of eligible public facilities
- Technical assistance to state, tribal, territorial and local governments on emergency management and control of immediate threats to public health and safety
- Emergency medical care
- Medical sheltering
- Purchase and distribution of food, water, ice, medicine, and other consumable supplies, to include personal protective equipment and hazardous material suits, and movement of supplies and persons
- Security and law enforcement
- Communications of general health and safety information to the public
A more comprehensive list of Category B Emergency Protective Measures can be accessed here.
In addition, the president’s directive allows FEMA to expand the activities eligible for reimbursement for work conducted after January 21, 2021. This includes costs to support the safe opening and operation of eligible schools, child-care facilities, healthcare facilities, non-congregate shelters, domestic violence shelters, transit systems, etc. Such funding can also cover the purchase of personal protective equipment, disinfecting services, and other related supplies. These costs will also be reimbursed at 100 percent federal share.
In the coming days, FEMA will issue an amended COVID-19 policy to implement this directive. The agency also is working with the National Association of Counties to hold an informational webinar, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
Below are links to the relevant executive actions:
FEMA Statement on 100% Cost Share (Dated February 3, 2021)
Memorandum on Maximizing Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Issued on February 2, 2021)
COVID-19 Emergency Declaration (Declared on March 13, 2020)