Public Assistance for COVID-19

FEMA Public Assistance COVID-19 Programmatic Project Submission Deadline: December 31, 2022

FEMA Public Assistance funding is available for all eligible subrecipients throughout North Carolina who have incurred costs due to emergency measures and protective actions to reduce or eliminate the threat of COVID-19. Eligible subrecipients include local governments, counties, special political subdivisions and authorities, tribal entities, certain private non-profits (community centers, food programs, hospitals, assisted living facilities, shelters, utility cooperatives), K-12 schools, and institutions of higher education. An applicant must have a minimum of $3,300 of eligible costs (FFY2020) for FEMA to allow a project for cost reimbursement to be written as an emergency protective measure (or Category B work). 
Key facts for COVID-19 and FEMA Public Assistance: 

  • Funds are paid on a reimbursement basis, but expedited funding is available.
  • For this event, eligible reimbursable work and costs are those related to emergency protective measures that have been taken or that will be taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats to lives, public health and safety due to COVID-19.
  • The incident started January 20, 2020 and is ongoing.
  • Applicants must work though and maintain access to the FEMA Grants Portal (as with a natural disaster event) to access funding.

NCEM’s Public Assistance team can help: 

  • Navigate FEMA PA's policies, regulations and laws for Category B work.
  • Provide technical assistance to help applicants register in the FEMA Grants Portal and to submit their required documentation. 
  • Guide applicants with submitting small and large projects to FEMA that clearly define work done due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 PA Applicant Brief

Need Help?
E-mail NCEM's PA Team or
Call 919-825-2548

Watch FEMA Tutorials
on COVID PA Applications

Contact Your PA Manager

NOFA for COVID-19 Hazard Mitigation




Tab/Accordion Items

All reimbursement requests are processed through the online FEMA Grants Portal. To start the reimbursement process, applicants must: 

  1. Participate in an Applicant Briefing 
  2. Register in the FEMA Grants Portal
  3. Submit documentation to complete the registration process
  4. Start documenting COVID-19 expenses 

After Organizations Are Registered
The NC Emergency Management Public Assistance team provides full-time support to all applicants. A NCEM Public Assistance grants manager will be assigned to guide you through the reimbursement process and answer any questions.

Step 1: Applicant Briefing 

FEMA requires all potential applicants to participant in an Applicant Briefing. The COVID-19 Applicant Briefing webinars provide basic information about the FEMA Public Assistance Program, Grants Portal registration, and resources to help you navigate the reimbursement process. Click here to Watch the PA Applicant Briefing

Step 2: Register for the FEMA Grants Portal 

Before you can apply for FEMA public assistance, you must be a registered applicant. If you are already a registered applicant, you can go directly to the FEMA Grants Portal to apply. If you think your organization meets the criteria to be registered with FEMA, please have an official representative register in the FEMA Grants Portal by going to and submitting a New Registration request. You will need to provide all the information in one sitting. If you are a private nonprofit, please make sure you have your tax-exempt information and other supporting documentation ready to upload for FEMA’s review. 

FEMA will advise you via email whether or not your organization was approved for Public Assistance funding in future events. It typically takes FEMA two to three weeks to review and email new organizations about their application’s approval. 

Step 3: Submit Registration Documents 

Once registered in the Grants Portal, submit two forms to complete the Public Assistance registration process (process described in the Applicant Briefing). Note: State registration forms are required even if an applicant is already registered in the Grant Portal from a previous disaster.  

There is no deadline yet to register for FEMA Public Assistance, but you should still do so as soon as possible to get the reimbursement application process started. You do not have to submit a request for reimbursement as part of the registration process. 

After completing the Grants Portal registration, complete and submit your Request of Public Assistance (located in the dashboard after you log back in). The required RPA submission is the process to formally request inclusion and consideration for cost reimbursement from FEMA. Be prepared to provide documentation that clearly defines status as an eligible organization. Private non-profits should be prepared to provide extra documentation to demonstrate eligibility, including articles of incorporation, charter and bylaws.  

Note: If you have eligible costs for this COVID-19 event, or believe you will have eligible costs, you should submit an RPA. Even if it ultimately turns out you do not have reimbursable costs, the RPA is required for your organization to be included and your RPA can be withdrawn if necessary.    

Step 4: Document Expenses

Even if you are not sure which expenses will be eligible for reimbursement, it is important to start documenting all of your COVID-19 expenses now so that you will be prepared to submit them for reimbursement after you have completed the registration process. 

Find more information on categories of eligible expenses and tips for documenting your expenses in the Applicant Briefing or on Eligible Expenses. 



Note: As FEMA issues additional guidance, eligible expenses could change. Be sure to track all costs as they pertain to COVID-19 and compile any documentation that supports submitted costs (invoices, receipt, narratives, reports, contracts, etc.). 

Examples of Emergency Protective Measures Costs (Category B) 

  • Management control and reduction of immediate threats to public safety
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC) costs 
  • Trainings specific to the declared event 
  • Disinfection of eligible public facilities
  • Technical assistance to state, tribal, territorial, or local governments on emergency and management and control of immediate threats to public health and safety 

Emergency medical care 

  • Non-deferrable medical treatment of infected persons in a shelter or temporary medical facility 
  • Related medical facilities and supplies 
  • Temporary medical facilities and/or enhanced medical/hospital capacity (for treatment when existing facilities are reasonably forecasted to become overloaded in the near term and cannot accommodate the patient overload or to quarantine potentially infected persons) 
  • Use of specialized medical equipment 
  • Medical waste disposal 
  • Medical care and transport such as specialty ambulance transports, air evacuation, ventilators, etc.

Medical sheltering (e.g., when existing facilities are reasonably forecasted to become overloaded in the near future and cannot accommodate needs) 

  • All sheltering must be conducted in accordance with standards and guidance approved by the Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC) and must be implemented in a manner that incorporates social distancing measures 
  • Reimbursement for state, tribe, territory and/or local government force account overtime costs and all time for temporary staff to assist with COVID-19. (To be eligible for OT and temporary labor costs, personnel policies must clearly state that staff overtime and other staffing expenses would be allowed whether or not FEMA assistance would arrive for a disaster event. OT cannot be reimbursable because FEMA assistance has arrived, but regardless of whether FEMA assistance will arrive or not.)

Other types of costs

  • Household pet sheltering and containment actions related to household pets in accordance with CDC guidelines 
  • Purchase and distribution of food, water, medicine, and other consumable supplies, to include personal protective equipment and hazardous materials suits 
  • Movement of supplies and persons 
  • Security and law enforcement which may include barricades and fencing 
  • Communications of general health and safety information to the public 
  • Dissemination of information to the public to provide warnings and guidance about health and safety hazards. 
  • Search and rescue to locate and recover members of the population requiring assistance 
  • Use or lease of temporary generators for facilities that provide essential community services

FEMA Public Assistance Safe Reopening Policies

On April 5, 2021, FEMA issued their COVID-19 Pandemic: Safe Opening and Operation Work Eligible for Public Assistance Policy  to define the framework, policy details and requirements for determining the eligibility of safe opening and operation work and costs under the Public Assistance Program.  

This policy applies to all eligible applicants under the COVID-19 declaration that have conducted safe opening and operation work from January 21, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

FEMA may provide assistance for the following measures implemented for eligible facilities:

  • Purchase and distribution of facemask, including cloth face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 
  • Cleaning and disinfection, in accordance with CDC guidance or that of an appropriate Public Health official available at the time the work was completed, including the purchase and provision of necessary supplies and equipment in excess of the Applicant’s regularly budgeted costs. 
  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing. 
  • Screening and temperature scanning, including, but not limited to, the purchase and distribution of hand-held temperature measuring devices or temperature screening equipment.
  • Acquisition and installation of temporary physical barriers, such as plexiglass barriers and screens/dividers, and signage to support social distancing, such as floor decals. 
  • Purchase and storage of PPE and other supplies listed in this section based on projected needs. 

If you have any questions concerning this policy and would like to schedule a meeting/call to discuss, please feel reach out to me or your regional NCEM PA Team Lead (contact info attached in map): 

Western Region – Shonda Corbett
Central Region – David Gale
Eastern Region – Brian Snell


FEMA Reimbursement Tutorials

  • Registering Your Organization in the FEMA Grants Portal - 4 min.
  • Submitting a Request for Public Assistance - 3 min.
  • Checking the Status of Your Request for Public Assistance - 2 min.
  • Submitting the Designation of Applicant’s Agent  - 2 min.
  • Submitting the State-Applicant Disaster Assistance Agreement - 3 min.
  • Adding Personnel and Adjusting Roles in the FEMA Grants Portal - 3 min.
  • Adding Documents in the FEMA Grants Portal - 5 min.
  • Creating Quick-Access Dashboard Tiles in the FEMA Grants Portal -1.5 min.
FEMA Procurement Video - 34 min.