FEMA has indefinitely extended the deadline to submit the initial Request for Public Assistance application. FEMA will accept RPAs for 30 days after the end of the declaration of the Public Health Emergency and will provide a 30-day advance notice if an earlier deadline is established.
In addition, FEMA has significantly streamlined its process for applying for an RPA. Exploratory calls, recovery scoping meetings, and most site inspections have been removed. Although it will not be fully functional for several weeks, establishing an initial applicant account and submitting a completed RPA can now be completed through FEMA’s online portal at https://grantee.fema.gov. As FEMA is still in the process of building out the technology and tools necessary to accommodate receipt of the vast number of COVID-19 claims nationwide, applicants should anticipate and prepare for ongoing adjustments as the new process rolls out.
For entities in need of immediate funding, expedited assistance may be available. FEMA is currently exploring how best to address the individual needs of eligible applicants. FEMA will immediately provide up to 50% of expected project costs to applicants eligible for expedited funding and will provide the remainder of funding upon receipt of supporting documentation.
FEMA is also in the process of creating COVID-19 specific worksheets and expense templates to be completed and submitted through the grant portal, which should be available relatively soon. Advis expects FEMA to begin processing direct RPA submissions through the grant portal within 6-8 weeks.
Although there are some uncertainties related to the scope of eligible costs/expenses, Advis advises being overinclusive in the tracking of COVID-10 related costs to ensure your organization receives as much reimbursement as possible once FEMA begins evaluating and processing cost submissions. If possible, cost tracking should be conducted on a daily basis and should include the development of actual cost documentation (e.g. bills, invoices, receipts, labor/equipment records, contract documents, etc.) to support all project costs claimed. To the extent possible, entities should also maintain an ongoing narrative of the different daily costs incurred to provide context and validation for each cost and expense. Although reporting may be ultimately at the EIN level, for now Advis recommends tracking at the institutional provider level.
Advis is available to immediately assist with RPA applications, work with your organization to begin appropriately documenting costs, and to manage the tracking, documentation, and submission of costs and expenses throughout the grant period.
Advis will continue to share updates as they become available.
Published: March 24, 2020