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COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

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Federal Funding Streams, FEMA Funding

How does ARP funding correlate with duplication of benefits requirements in FEMA PA funding? For example, can we use FEMA PA funding for vaccinations if it is also an eligible use for other ARP funding streams?

A municipality likely can use Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) Public Assistance (“PA”) funds for vaccinations and other eligible emergency protective measures even if those uses are also eligible under the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARP”). However, the FEMA PA fund recipients must “ensur[e] that they do not accept payment for the same item of work twice” [1] from the two programs’ funding streams.

Municipalities that receive federal funding to address the COVID-19 public health emergency should perform due diligence to avoid duplication of benefits (“DOB”) and thoroughly review and follow the guidance at § 312 of The Stafford Act, 42 USC 5155,[2] and 44 CFR § 206.191.[3] DOB occurs if a person, household, business, government, or other entity receives financial assistance from multiple sources for an identical purpose, and the total assistance received for that purpose is more than the total need for assistance. DOB is addressed in greater detail in the following previously published responses: 

In June 2020, FEMA published a Fact Sheet acknowledging overlap between congressionally-authorized pandemic response funding sources at multiple federal agencies, which specifically addresses the overlap of FEMA PA and ARP funding for emergency protective measures.[4] The Fact Sheet explicitly mentions state, local, tribal, and territorial (“SLTT”) government entities and the DOB mandate by stating:

Section 312 of the Stafford Act prohibits all federal agencies from duplicating benefits for disaster relief. Multiple agencies having authority to expend funds for the same purpose is not, by itself, a duplication of benefits under Section 312. However, all federal agencies are prohibited by Section 312 from paying SLTTs for the same work twice. FEMA is coordinating closely with other federal agencies to provide information about the eligible use of various COVID-19 funding resources. Recipients and subrecipients are ultimately responsible for ensuring that they do not accept payment for the same item of work twice. FEMA applicants will certify in the PA application process that assistance is not being duplicated.[5]

Recipients of FEMA PA and ARP funds should diligently track allocations of payments from each funding source and the related expenditures that address the COVID-19 public health emergency to avoid DOB. Further suggestions for tracking multiple revenue streams are included in the following previously published responses: 

In addition, FEMA explicitly outlines further guidance for maneuvering through different federal funding streams as it relates to PA funds, stating that:

As FEMA continues to coordinate with our federal partners to ensure coordination of funding, we will provide additional guidance to SLTTs for where they can seek funding. If an applicant applies to FEMA for PA funding and then determines it no longer wants the funding for the cost of certain activities from FEMA and will instead seek funding from another federal agency, the applicant should notify FEMA as soon as possible. Applicants should notify FEMA by withdrawing or amending their PA project application if funding has not been awarded yet or request an updated version to amend their PA project if funding has been awarded.[6]

Finally, municipalities should prioritize funds by assessing their relative need for all eligible emergency protective measures. Municipalities should determine the total amount of assistance available for each need, as some funding sources address various needs while others are more specific concerning their eligible use categories. In addition, by reviewing funding source scope and relevant deadlines, municipalities can better align their allocated funding with their needed emergency protective measures.

Last Updated: June 23, 2021

[1] FEMA FACT SHEET: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency: Coordinating Public Assistance and Other Sources of Federal Funding, at 1-2, available at: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/FEMA-COVID-19_coordinating-public-assistance-and-other-sources-of-federal-funding_07-01-2020.pdf.

[2] ROBERT T. STAFFORD DISASTER RELIEF AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE ACT [Public Law 93–288;

Approved May 22, 1974] [As Amended Through P.L. 116–284, Enacted January 1, 2021], available at:

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/COMPS-2977/pdf/COMPS-2977.pdf

[4] FEMA FACT SHEET: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency: Coordinating Public Assistance and Other Sources of Federal Funding, available at: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/FEMA-COVID-19_coordinating-public-assistance-and-other-sources-of-federal-funding_07-01-2020.pdf.

[5] Id., at pp. 1-2.

[6] Id. at p. 1.