Federal Disaster Assistance

​In a catastrophic disaster, and if the state's governor requests, federal resources may be mobilized through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for federal assistance to state or local governments to pay part of the costs of rebuilding a community's damaged infrastructure.  Federal assistance may include funding for debris removal, emergency protective measures and public services, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools.   

FEMA coordinates with Cal OES to implement the Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program.  The funding process consists of the following steps:

  • A Preliminary Damage Assessment is made by local, state, federal, and volunteer organizations to determine losses and recovery needs.
  • The Governor requests federal assistance. FEMA evaluates the request and recommends an action to the White House based on the disaster, the local community and the state's ability to recover.
  • The President approves the request for federal disaster funding or FEMA informs the governor it has been denied. This decision process could take a few hours or several weeks depending on the nature of the disaster.
  • Cal OES and FEMA hold Applicants' Briefings that provide a general overview of the Public Assistance (PA) program and describe the application process.      
  • An applicant submits a Request for Public Assistance within 30 days of the date of the declaration.  FEMA will determine the eligibility of each applicant.
  • A Kick-off Meeting for eligible applicants is held with state and federal PA Coordinators to provide a more detailed review of the program and specific applicant needs.  The applicant submits a List of Projects to Cal OES and FEMA. 
  • Damaged sites are documented using a Subgrant Application (Project Worksheet).  Multiple sites may be combined on to a single Project Worksheet.     
  • Project Worksheets are developed and reviewed by FEMA; an eligibility determination is made and the project is assigned a Project Worksheet number.   
  • Eligible Project Worksheets are obligated and funding is disbursed through
    Cal OES to the applicant. 
  • Applicants complete construction of their projects and notify Cal OES when they are ready for closeout.
  • Cal OES and FEMA complete a closeout of the application.   


Current Applicant's Briefing Schedule