COVID-19 Public Assistance Header

 

COVID-19 Emergency Work Completion Deadline – Extended Until Further Notice

 

Potential Public Assistance Applicants:

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic response to include the State of Michigan.  This emergency declaration designated all counties in Michigan as eligible for assistance for Category B, Emergency Protective Measures, of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Grant Program (PAGP).  Additionally, the President approved a major disaster declaration, 4494-DR-MI, for all counties on March 27, 2020.  The incident period began January 20, 2020 and is ongoing.

 

Click Here for the latest FEMA Policy Guidance FP 104-009-19, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Work Eligible for Public Assistance (Interim)

Click Here to Determine Your MSP/EMHSD Public Assistance Contact

Click Here for Grants Portal Access

 


Q & A
April 30, 2020

Webinar Accessibility/Technology Questions and Answers:

Q: I did not see an agency prompt upon sign in. What tips do you have to find it?
A: Go up to "Attendees" and click on the down arrow. It will allow you to edit your information.

Q: My passkey is not working. How do I enter the briefing?
A: Call In: 1-877-820-7829 or 1-720-279-0026 then enter Participant Access Code: 644574; make sure to press # after entering the access code.

Q: I cannot call into the briefing. What should I do?
A: Try calling the other telephone number; there are two call-in numbers.

Q: Our microphones are muted. How do we ask a question?
A: There is a question and answer portion at the end of the presentation. During that time press *6 to unmute your phone. Or you can type a question into the chat box and someone will respond. If your question is not answered during the presentation portion of the briefing, you can type it into the chat box, which will be active for 15-20 minutes after the presentation, and it will be addressed in the FAQs to be uploaded to the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division’s web site at: https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_60152_99665---,00.html

 

FEMA Public Assistance Questions and Answers:

Q: It was my understanding that non-profit agencies do not use the grants portal. Did that change?
A: Private non-profit organizations cannot create a FEMA Grants Portal account without the assistance of State Public Assistance staff. They should email Tiffany Vedder, State Public Assistance Officer, at veddert@michigan.gov to obtain Grants Portal access.

Q: Do you know if cities/townships can be reimbursed for paying essential employees, including value of benefit package, we sent home due to possible infection while they were quarantined for duration of quarantine?
A: The cost of sending employees home is not an eligible expense under FEMA Public Assistance.

Q: Will the state retain a percentage of the grant?
A: The state receives management costs directly from FEMA for managing the grant. Nothing is retained by the state for projects. This is a 75% federal share reimbursement grant. Applicants have a 25% share.

Q: Once we have access to grants portal is there anything that we have to submit right now or is it an ongoing submission as we go along?
A: The next step after the creation of a FEMA Grants Portal account and submittal of a Request for Public Assistance in Grants Portal is to continue to incur and document costs then submit a Project Application and supporting documentation into Grants Portal.

Q: Will the power point be posted somewhere?
A: Yes, the presentation slides will be posted on the MSP/EMHSD website at:
https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_60152_99665---,00.html

Q: What form was due today?
A: A Request for Public Assistance was to be submitted by state departments, and Tribal and local governments directly in the Grants Portal and private non-profit organizations were to submit a Request for Public Assistance to the State Public Assistance Officer via email. If you submitted the forms by email we are replying to you by email with next steps.

Q: If we submitted our RPA form through email to Tiffany but also have access to the Grants Portal, do we need to complete the RPA form on the Grants Portal?
A: Yes, Grants Portal will still require completion of a Request for Public Assistance (RPA); however, the questions are the same, and it only takes a couple minutes.

Q: 1) We needed to purchase some equipment for Wi-Fi work at home by our detectives. Will this be covered 75% (several at $801 each); 2) Our retirement costs are recorded as a flat amount per person. Do we divide by 2080 hours and multiply by the hours worked to add to the Force Account fringe benefit percentage or is it non-reimbursable since did not vary by the number of hours worked; 3) When we upload labor forms, we can use our own or tweak to fit the forms on the portal?
A: 1) No, the purchase of equipment to allow employees to work from home will not be an eligible expense; 2) You will be required to provide FEMA with your organization’s labor policy. Reimbursement for force account labor, including fringe benefits, will be reimbursed at 75% federal cost share according to your labor policy; 3) FEMA does not require use of FEMA forms to documents costs; however, the elements of information must be captured.

Q: Are physical therapy clinics eligible for this grant?
A: No, only private non-profit organizations with eligible costs for emergency protective measures as defined by FEMA are eligible for direct FEMA Public Assistance.

Q: How should we answer this question: What fee, if any, is charged for the use of facility? We are a hospital organization and do not really charge fee per se, except patient care.
A: Other hospitals have answered by simply stating fees are charged for patient care.

Q: To ensure the safety of our employee and other employees we did not allow someone who displayed or complained of partial or full COVID symptoms to remain at work. They had to go home, call their doctor and hope to qualify for a test. Many were initially told they did not qualify for a test, but we followed guidelines and required them to stay at home for different periods of time, depending on the guidance at the time, and we continued to pay them. They would not have been sent home or stayed home except for the Pandemic. What about paying for someone to work overtime in place of the quarantined personnel. Do contractual minimum staffing requirements factor into the equation?
A: Overtime to cover for someone in quarantine could be covered if conducting eligible emergency protective measures work. No, the contractual minimum staffing would be ineligible.

 

***FEMA makes the final decision on eligibility and funding***

May 4, 2020

Q: Will the webinar be recorded?  Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  No, the webinar will not be recorded; however, the slides will be posted on our web site at https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_60152_99665---,00.html

Q:  When you reference COVID-19 projects you are referring to aggregate costs correct?
A:  Yes, aggregate eligible costs.

Q:  A private, non-profit hospital would be eligible, correct?
A:  Yes, if you are a non-profit hospital performing eligible emergency protective measures you would be considered an eligible applicant. FEMA will require eligible costs to be offset by insurance proceeds when applicable.

Q:  What is meant by "non-revenue producing PNP"?
A:  When they say "non-revenue producing private non-profit" they are just meaning that a non-profit generally is not able to make a profit. For-profit entities are not eligible for direct FEMA Public Assistance.

Q:  One application per jurisdiction or does each department submit the streamlined application?
A:  If referring to Grants Portal accounts, the jurisdiction would be the applicant and the departments within that jurisdiction would be part of that applicant's projects submitted in Grants Portal. FEMA has no requirements on the number of direct project applications. It is suggested smaller amounts be combined into one Category B project and more complex, higher dollar amount projects be broken out into logical groupings as separate projects.

Q:  Would COVID-19 response protocol training be covered if it was conducted while the officers were on an emergency schedule? Technically on duty training, but only because we went to a different schedule.
A:  Emergency protective measures for the management, control and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety including training specific to the declared event may be eligible per FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Eligible Emergency Protective Measures.

Q:  Are labor and costs to screen employees/public entering the building eligible?
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these. If screening of essential employees reporting for duty in direct COVID-19 response activities such as Emergency Operations Center these may be eligible activities.

Q:  Will hazard pay be covered if given to first responders required to work?
A:  Hazard pay would only be considered IF there was an approved pay policy requiring hazard pay in place at the start of the incident - January 20, 2020 - and it were for eligible emergency protective measures activities.   

Q:  If a budgeted staff member who would have been normally furloughed due to the COVID crisis, is reassigned to a task needed to provide medical care, are their worked hours covered? For reassigned employees who otherwise would have been furloughed but are reassigned to do COVID related work - force labor reimbursement for straight plus OT?  If we recall furloughed employees, it looks like those we can claim those providing health services to the public for both straight and overtime. What about department managers or finance admin? Would they be includable, or be subject to the 5% admin criteria?
A:  Only the overtime would be covered.  Per the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 24, Reassigned Employees, the Applicant may assign an employee to perform work that is not part of the employee’s normal job. For example, a police officer may clear debris. FEMA provides PA funding based on the reassigned employee’s normal pay rate, not the pay level appropriate to the work, because the Applicant’s incurred cost is the employee’s normal pay rate. Straight-time of a permanent employee funded from an external source (such as a grant from a Federal agency or statutorily dedicated funds) is eligible if the employee is reassigned to perform eligible Emergency Work that the external source does not fund. FEMA must confirm that no duplication of funding exists prior to approval.

Q:  EOC work from OT exempt personnel, not covered?
A:  Please refer to your approved pay policies that were in place at the start of the incident.  If there is a provision to pay exempt employees overtime wages for performing eligible activities in the EOC, they can be submitted for consideration for reimbursement through FEMA Public Assistance.

Q:  What date was the Grants Portal application extended to?
A:  FEMA has not given us a deadline for submitting requests for public assistance in Grants Portal.  When we know, we will pass along the deadline.

Q:  Do you have to submit all this documentation for expedited funding consideration?
A:  No, expedited projects are based on limited documentation; however, FEMA will only provide 50% of the funding and will not provide additional funds until all costs are submitted and reconciled.

Q:  If HHS provided funding already, but not for specific costs, do we disregard that for FEMA project purposes? Or, would we subtract the full HHS amount and only claim aggregate costs exceeding that amount?
A:  FEMA will not provide reimbursement for activities that can be funded from another Federal source.

Q:  Police officers training with N95 masks and gas masks for COVID; PPE response would that be covered for OT training?
A:  Per FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Eligible Emergency Protective Measures training specific to the declared event and the purchase and distribution of food, water, ice, medicine, and other consumable supplies, to include personal protective equipment…may be eligible.

Q:  How do we prove or what document do we provide to prove legal responsibility? This in response to the questions about the building on the PNP questionnaire.
A:  Per the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 10-11 prior to determining whether the PNP is eligible, FEMA must first determine whether the PNP owns or operates an eligible facility. For PNPs, an eligible facility is one that provides an eligible service. PNPs will likely only be eligible if they are providing critical emergency medical care, i.e., – a nursing home with COVID positive residents.

Q:  How to best determine what to submit as expedited funding?
A:  Expedited funds should only be requested if the applicant requires immediate funding to continue carrying out lifesaving activities and if the applicant has previously received FEMA Public Assistance grant awards. There is a risk involved with expedited funding since minimal documentation is required for the initial award. This could lead to ineligible costs being submitted and funds needing to be repaid to FEMA during closeout. 

Q:  Is the use of part-time employees to fill in for full-time staff an eligible reimbursement?
A:  Only to the extent that overtime wages are paid in accordance with approved pay policies in place and that the work activities were eligible as an emergency protective measure as defined by FEMA.

 

Q:  For salaried individuals who are not paid overtime there is no reimbursement, but may their time spent over and above their allotted normal time be considered a donation for purposes of the 25% match?
A:  No. They are employees performing work for their employer who is the applicant. To qualify as a donated resource, an individual that is normally a paid employee of the applicant must be volunteering as unpaid individuals and not on behalf of the employer. Any donated resources must be necessary, reasonable and eligible under the declaration.

Q:  Is there another session? I saw the webinar update sheet said it went from 10:30 to 2PM?
A:  Yes, there are two sessions, one at 10:30 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. Both will have the same content.

Q:  Since FEMA has yet to determine if mid-long-term actions will be eligible, is it best to submit other project info now or wait to include those costs after FEMA decides?
A:  This would be up to the applicant.

Q: Are straight-time labor costs for exempt and non-exempt employees eligible for reimbursement if we are staggering shifts in our City Hall, Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Department of Public Works?
A:  For Emergency Work, only overtime labor is eligible for budgeted employees. Eligible force account labor costs are for activities in direct response to COVID-19 to protect public health and safety.

Q:  Can we collect smaller amount under $3,300 across several different departments to submit? The cumulative amounts would be over that $3,300 threshold.
A:  An applicant can combine its own costs into several logical projects. Projects under the minimum threshold of $3,300 will not be accepted in Grants Portal.  In this instance, the applicant should combine various departments within the applicant jurisdiction for all eligible costs and submit as one.

PM Session:

Q:  When will we get FEMA approval for the Grant Portal?  It has been 3 weeks since we have submitted our RPA and we still have not received our approval and login information.
A:  The State and FEMA both approve each applicant account and request for public assistance. Once FEMA approves, the applicant should receive an automated message with a temporary password. State staff can assist with checking accounts and can send temporary passwords to reset accounts.

Q:  Permanent employee funded from external source:  If not reimbursable – can all or portion of 911 Director’s wage be counted as in kind toward the 25% match if Director was appointed as County IC by CEO?
A:  Per the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 24, straight-time of a permanent employee funded from an external source (such as a grant from a Federal agency or statutorily dedicated funds) is eligible if the employee is reassigned to perform eligible emergency work that the external source does not fund. FEMA must confirm that no duplication of funding exists prior to approval. To qualify as a donated resource, an individual that is normally a paid employee of the applicant must be volunteering as unpaid individuals and not on behalf of the employer. Any donated resources must be necessary, reasonable and eligible under the declaration.

Q:  How do you get the contact info changed in the database, reset of email and password?
A:  A request can be made to the MSP/EMHSD staff and one of us can send you a temporary password.

Q:  How do we prove or what document do we provide to prove legal responsibility? This in response to the questions about the building on the PNP questionnaire.
A:  A PNP must be a nongovernmental organization that is tax exempted by the IRS or provide satisfactory evidence that it is a nonrevenue producing or a nonprofit organized by state law.  Eligible PNPs must also own or operate an eligible facility. For PNPs, an eligible facility is one that provides an eligible service, which includes education, utilities, emergency, medical, custodial care, and other essential social services. For more information refer to FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Private Non-Profit Organizations.

May 5, 2020

Webinar Accessibility/Technology Questions and Answers:

Q: What username and password were required to enter the session as a registered user?
A:  A username and password is not required. The applicant briefing uses Adobe Connect software where attendees enter as a guest by indicating their name and agency. Audio is obtained by using the call-in information above.

Q:  What is the email to notify the State of attendance at this Applicant Briefing?
A:  Please email the State Public Assistance Officer, Tiffany Vedder at veddert@michigan.gov.

Q:  Will the power point be posted somewhere?
A:  Yes, the presentation slides will be posted on the MSP/EMHSD website at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

 

FEMA Public Assistance Questions and Answers:

Q:  Is there an anticipated end date for filing for public assistance yet?
A:  No, FEMA has not determined a due date to submit a request public assistance. The incident period began on January 20, 2020 and is still ongoing.

Q:  If applying for the PA, can other grants be applied for? (CEAF Grant/AFG-S) Without affecting FEMA PA reimbursement?
A:  FEMA cannot duplicate benefits and should be considered after all other means have been exhausted for eligible emergency protective measures costs.

Q:  What is the Grants Portal Hotline number again?
A:  The Grants Portal Hotline number is 866-337-8448.

Q:  If you get PPP loan, can you get FEMA assistance as well?
A:  FEMA will not duplicate funding provided by any other Federal source.

Q:  The Michigan Poison Center was provided an award from HRSA (part of HHS) recently. This was not requested, instead initiated by HRSA. Would the Poison Center be eligible for additional support through FEMA?
A:  PA will only provide 75% reimbursement for eligible emergency protective measures. If you receive reimbursement elsewhere for those same expenditures, you cannot get FEMA PA to reimburse them again. There are lots of funds out there through federal stimulus bills. I would recommend looking at all that you have as far as costs and what will cover those costs before applying for PA. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits. Keep in mind that there is a 25% applicant share for all awarded projects.

Q:  Tiffany said we cannot apply for other funding - but we can apply for FEMA funding and other funding for different expenses correct?  For example, CESF?
A:  Applicants should not seek funding from multiple federal agencies for the same activities. Application for funding will require Applicants to certify they are not seeking funding from another federal source for the same activity.

Q:  Please explain the minimum amount for a project?  Is it combined items or for the total project?
A:  Minimum threshold for applying is $3,300.  If you have one project for all eligible costs it must meet the threshold.  Or some larger jurisdictions may have multiple projects that need to meet the minimum threshold.  Depends on your jurisdiction and what your costs are.

Q:  Where can we find the definition of a project?  Is it the category of funding such as category B or user defined?
A:  FEMA defines project in the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, page 163, as a logical grouping of work required as a result of a declared major disaster or emergency. FEMA currently does not have a requirement for the combination or separation of projects. It is recommended that small dollar amounts be combined into one Category B project and more complex, higher dollar amounts be logically separated out.

Q:  Can organizations still create a PA Portal Account?  If yes, is there a cut-off date?
A:  Yes, you can still create a PA Grants Portal Account. FEMA has not yet determined a deadline for requests for public assistance.

Q:  Could childcare centers be considered an essential service?
A:  A child-care center may be an essential service, but it is unlikely they would implement emergency protective measures. Measures to protect life, public health, and safety are generally the responsibility of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. In some cases, a government entity may be legally responsible to provide services and enter into an agreement with a PNP to provide those services (e.g., sheltering or food distribution). In these cases, Public Assistance funding is provided to the legally responsible government entity, which then pays the PNP for the cost of providing those services under the agreement. FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Private Non-Profit Organizations.

Q:  Are senior retirement communities eligible?
A:  Per FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Private Non-Profit Organizations in limited circumstances, essential components of a facility are urgently needed to save lives or protect health and safety, such as an emergency room of a PNP hospital. In these cases, PNPs that own or operate an eligible facility and perform eligible work, such as providing emergency, medical or custodial care services for which they are legally responsible in response to the COVID-19 incident, may be eligible for reimbursement of costs as a Public Assistance applicant. 

Q:  The Michigan Poison Center is a non-profit organization affiliated with Wayne State University. We are also considered an essential service. We provided an award from HRSA (part of HHS) recently. This was not requested, instead initiated by HRSA. Would the Poison Center be eligible for additional support through FEMA?
A:  Eligible emergency protective measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direction or guidance of public health officials may be eligible for reimbursement under category B of FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Emergency work is that which is necessary to save lives or protect public health and safety. To be eligible, work must be the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant, Per FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Private Non-Profit Organizations

Q:  Is the project # the same as "Applicant Assigned Project Application #"?
A:  No, the project # is the assigned number FEMA gives each project. The applicant assigned project application number, is the number the applicant assigns to its project.

Q: What is the total amount earmarked by FEMA for the declaration disaster 4494?
A:  There is no maximum or earmarked amount.

Q:  Would case exposures as a result of COVID-19 be eligible? I.e. individuals ingesting/injecting bleach, disinfectants, hand sanitizers to 'prevent' COVID?
A:  I do not know what your other funding covers.  If you have eligible FEMA PA costs that are not reimbursed elsewhere you can submit for reimbursement.

Q:  What about part-time police officers who are covering shifts for police officers who are quarantined?
A:  Only to the extent that overtime wages are paid in accordance with approved pay policies in place and that the work activities were eligible as an emergency protective measure as defined by FEMA.

Q:  Would employees brought back from furlough or layoff be eligible for straight time reimbursement?
A:  Only the overtime would be covered.  Per the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 24, Reassigned Employees, the Applicant may assign an employee to perform work that is not part of the employee’s normal job. For example, a police officer may clear debris. FEMA provides PA funding based on the reassigned employee’s normal pay rate, not the pay level appropriate to the work, because the Applicant’s incurred cost is the employee’s normal pay rate. Straight-time of a permanent employee funded from an external source (such as a grant from a Federal agency or statutorily dedicated funds) is eligible if the employee is reassigned to perform eligible Emergency Work that the external source does not fund. FEMA must confirm that no duplication of funding exists prior to approval.

Q:  If an agency pays "overtime" to employees for what would normally be straight time hours.  In short, paying "hazard pay" as overtime hours for all hours worked.
A:  Hazard pay is not eligible unless it was included as part of an approved pay policy that was in place at the time of the incident period - January 20, 2020 - and again for eligible emergency protective measures activities.

Q:  If we are going to write for the AFG-S grant for PPE equipment. Can we also write for PPE equipment for the PA grant as long as it is different equipment?
A:  Applicants should not seek funding from multiple federal agencies for the same activities. Application for funding will require Applicants to certify they are not seeking funding from another federal source for the same activity.

Q:  Are straight time costs reimbursable if additional part time employees were utilized for increased staffing to respond during this time?
A:  Only the overtime would be covered.

Q:  Do we wait until the Incident Period End Date before posting eligible expenses in the Grants Portal?
A:  This would be up to the applicant.  There are many options for submitting direct project applications. The schedules are as follows:

A – Expedited Funding

B- Completed Work Estimate

C – In Progress Work Estimate

D – Large Project Eligibility Questions

EZ – Small Project Estimate (< $131,100)

F – Environmental/Historic Preservation Questions

Q:  Am I understanding that sanitizing supplies, masks and other protective measures for employees – including plastic shields will not be considered for reimbursement funding?
A:  In general PPE for employees are considered increased operational costs and ineligible for PA reimbursement unless they are purchased for front-line workers performing eligible emergency protective measures work in direct response to COVID-19, then they may be eligible.   

Q:  The city incurred expenditures for sanitizing for the police and fire departments. Is this considered an eligible item?
A:  Disinfection of eligible public facilities, including emergency response vehicles, may be eligible for PA reimbursement.

Q:  We have a salaried employee who spent 75% of their time for six weeks working with the county's emergency team - can we be reimbursed for the time spent away from the township?
A:  The township would not be eligible to receive direct FEMA PA reimbursement for its employee who performed emergency work for the county. If eligible emergency work in direct response to COVID-19 was performed by the township employee through an agreement, the county may be eligible to receive funding and could then reimburse the township for eligible work.

Q:  What type of technology costs may be reimbursable as our city maintained a large tele-work force by utilizing computers allocated to our clerk for voting. They are going to need these computers back - I have been asked if purchasing or leasing laptops are eligible expenses.
A:  This would be considered an increased operational expense, which is not eligible for Public Assistance reimbursement. General operating expenses are not eligible, even when those operating costs increase as a result of the declared event; only those costs that are directly tied to an eligible emergency action to save lives or protect public health and safety, and above and beyond normal, budgeted operations, are eligible for funding.

Q:  Our police department closed our traffic division to move those officers to patrol. What if any of their salaries might be eligible for reimbursement? These would be regular not overtime salaries - however, the traffic division was completely closed.
A:  No, this is considered an increased operational expense, which is not eligible for Public Assistance reimbursement.

Q:  Are the Category Z costs, PO Management Costs, available to Applicants?
A:  At this time FEMA does not have the functionality to establish Category Z, Management Cost projects for COVID-19. When this functionality has been added, information will be pushed out.

Q:  How do we value volunteer time? Is there a standard hourly rate that we need to use?
A:  No, FEMA does not have a standard hourly rate for volunteers. Please see the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 35-36 for more information on Donated Resources.  “The offset for volunteer labor is based on the same straight-time hourly labor rate, and fringe benefits, as a similarly qualified person in the Applicant’s organization who normally performs similar work. FEMA does not offset volunteer labor based on overtime or premium rates. If the Applicant does not have employees performing similar work, FEMA credits the non-Federal share based on a rate consistent with those ordinarily performing the work in the same labor market.”

Q:  We issue very few checks most payments are made by ACH and credit card. For these types pf payments, what are you looking for as "proof" of payment?
A:  We will accept bank statements when checks are not issued.

Q:  How long do we have to submit a project request? We may have project costs ongoing for a while.
A:  A deadline for direct project applications has not been established as the incident is still ongoing and applicants are still incurring costs.

Q:  What is the effect on "splitting" projects into multiple submittals on the $131K threshold, and the resulting schedule requirements?
A:  FEMA has no requirements on the number of direct project applications. It is suggested smaller amounts be combined into one Category B project and more complex, higher dollar amount projects be broken out into logical groupings as separate projects.

Q:  Will the grant application generate a CFDA number?
A:  The CFDA number for all federal disaster grant programs is 97.036.

Q:  Law Enforcement under the EPM seems broad. What, if any straight time / routine duty hours worked by normally scheduled will be covered?
A:  General operating expenses are not eligible, even when those operating costs increase as a result of the declared event; only those costs that are directly tied to an eligible emergency action to save lives or protect public health and safety (in response to COVID-19), and above and beyond normal, budgeted operations, are eligible for funding.

Q:  We had a situation where the individual preparing the documentation was possibly going to be out a while and already submitted a project application with expenses to date. Will we be notified if there are any problems/questions with the submittal?
A:  The FEMA Consolidated Resource Center (CRC) will contact the applicant if there are any issues with a submitted direct project application.

Q:  For non-critical PNPs, the SBA loan application seems to be required prior to applying for FEMA. However, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan has depleted funds and now is only accepted from agriculture entities. Is the SBA app still required?
A:  This requirement does not apply to emergency work (category B). The SBA requirement is specific to Public Assistance permanent work (which is not approved for this disaster). 

Q:  Did I hear correctly that Quarterly Progress Reports are only required for large projects ($131,100 or more)?
A:  Yes, subrecipients are only required to report the status of large projects (>$131,100) on their quarterly reports.

Q:  How soon after an organization creates an account and submits an RPA in Grants Portal before they get their system generated email with a username and temporary password? We did this last week and have not received anything yet, so not sure how long before we follow up.
A:  The state and FEMA both must review and approve Grants Portal accounts and requests for public assistance. There are many requests for this unprecedented disaster, so it could take a few weeks.

Q:  Will direct reassignment COVID activities performed during regular work hours be considered for reimbursement? (i.e. working at the mass testing site)
A:  For emergency work, only overtime labor is eligible for budged employees.  Generally, costs associated with testing sites will not eligible for Public Assistance.

Q:  When is the due date for the project application?
A:  FEMA has not determined a project application deadline as applicants are still incurring costs and this public health emergency is still ongoing.

Q:  For contractual, scheduled facility decontamination, into the future, what is the recommended end date for a given project submittal? We would need an end date to formulate a cost estimate.
A:  FEMA recommends projects be submitted for a three-month period in most cases.

Q:  I just want to clarify that we can apply for FEMA funding if we have received HHS funding - as long as it is for separate project costs.
A:  Applicants should not seek funding from multiple federal agencies for the same activities.

Q:  Do you recommend a partial project application now and then add to it weekly or monthly or wait until the very end of the period once this date is announced? Is it expected that we submit actual incurred costs with the project application? And then later submit additional incurred costs for in work progress?
A:  This is the decision of the applicant.  As this incident is still ongoing, the applicant can wait until all costs have been incurred before submitting a direct project application, or there is an option for submitting an estimated project for which you can come back to submit additional costs later.

Q:  What is the purpose for registering on SAM.gov if we have already created an account on FEMA portal and applied for Public Assistance?
A:  This is a FEMA requirement for all grants, not just Federal disaster grants.

Q:  Should police and fire departments for the same city create separate applications or submit just one on behalf of the city?
A:  One Grants Portal account on behalf of the city.

Q:  We are a homeless shelter and working with the County administration and public health department to acquire additional offsites for clients served. This is allowing for safe shelter and social distancing in smaller congregate settings and one non-congregate shelter for highly vulnerable individuals. Do you suggest that the homeless shelter should apply through the county to receive reimbursement? The county plans to apply separately for hotel and food provision costs and the shelter was planning to submit separately for labor costs to operated offsites and supplies. Would it be better to apply together in one project application through the county? Thank you for your advice and guidance!
A:  State, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments have the legal responsibility for the health and safety of the public; therefore, private non-profit (PNP) organizations such as homeless shelters are typically not eligible to receive Public Assistance (PA), Category B – Emergency Protective Measures funding under COVID-19 declarations. PNPs cannot be direct FEMA PA applicants but may be eligible to receive reimbursement for COVID-19 if they are working with or for an SLTT governmental entity via a formal agreement. The SLTT government would then reimburse the PNP, not FEMA.

Q:  Our Police Department is registered on SAM.gov does the City of Roseville have to register as well?  Also, please provide the link for the Sam.gov.
A:  The link is: https://sam.gov/SAM/

Q:  For homeless offsite locations, it basic need supplies such as toiletries, considered a reimbursable supply cost?
A:  Please call or email Matt Schnepp regarding your homeless shelter questions. If you are a PNP you cannot apply for PA for sheltering operations but there may be other ways to handle it.  517-256-1512 or schneppm1@michigan.gov

Q:  If we placed another ambulance into service to help with the run volume and our labor contract says that these members will be paid overtime.  Is the entire overtime cost for the two members on the ambulance covered as force account labor or only when they respond to COVID calls?
A:  Emergency medical services and transport must be related to the treatment of COVID-19 patients. General operating expenses are not eligible, even when those operating costs increase as a result of the declared event.

 

PM Session:

Q:  If employees would have been furloughed due to their functions not being necessary during the crisis, but they have been retained and are doing work specifically related to the emergency, can their wages be claimed?
A:  Only the overtime would be covered.  Per the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 24, Reassigned Employees, the Applicant may assign an employee to perform work that is not part of the employee’s normal job. For example, a police officer may clear debris. FEMA provides PA funding based on the reassigned employee’s normal pay rate, not the pay level appropriate to the work, because the Applicant’s incurred cost is the employee’s normal pay rate. Straight-time of a permanent employee funded from an external source (such as a grant from a Federal agency or statutorily dedicated funds) is eligible if the employee is reassigned to perform eligible Emergency Work that the external source does not fund. FEMA must confirm that no duplication of funding exists prior to approval.

Q:  Will MSP agreements, etc., be sent via the FEMA portal or separately?
A:  Grant agreements will come directly from MSP.

Q:  Do donations have to be booked by the city in our accounting system to be used as match? Or is the support documentation sufficient?
A:  The applicant or volunteer organization must track the resources and work performed, including description, specific locations, and hours. Please see the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 35-36 for more information on Donated Resources.

Q:  Donated resources - can cash donations be used to offset the 25% cost share?
A:  Cash donations that are specific to COVID-19 emergency response can be used toward the 25% match.

Q:  How do you determine the value per hour of a volunteer?
A:  The offset for volunteer labor is based on the same straight-time hourly labor rate, and fringe benefits, as a similarly qualified person in the Applicant’s organization who normally performs similar work. FEMA does not offset volunteer labor based on overtime or premium rates. If the Applicant does not have employees performing similar work, FEMA credits the non-Federal share based on a rate consistent with those ordinarily performing the work in the same labor market. Please see the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 35-36 for more information on Donated Resources.  Donated resources are only eligible for consideration for eligible activities under FEMA Category B. 

Q:  How do the procurement rules apply if the majority of our costs are supplies and equipment?  Is there a dollar amount threshold per purchase?
A:  A non-state entity must maintain sufficiently detailed records that document the procurement history. FEMA has given an exception to full and open competition for a limited time during the exigent and emergency period for COVID-19. The applicant needs to document a fact-based justification for using this exception. Once the exigent and emergency period has ended, the applicant must transition to procurement compliant with the requirements of full and open competition. Please see Procurement Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT) for additional information on procurement and contracting, including Key Points for Non-State Entities on How to Avoid the Top 10 Procurement Under Grant Mistakes.

Q:  Can COVID related administrative straight hours (full-time) be counted towards the subrecipient 25% match of cost share?
A:  No, straight hours cannot count towards the 25% match.

Q:  Are normal salary/wages going to be covered?  We don't have any extra costs as we procured items through the county EOC
A:  No, regular wages are not eligible under FEMA PA.

Q:  What was the comment you made on Hazard Pay?
A:  Hazard pay would only be considered IF there was an approved pay policy requiring hazard pay in place at the start of the incident - January 20, 2020 - and it were for eligible emergency protective measures activities. Hazard pay is only available for essential employees who are called back to duty during administrative leave to perform eligible emergency work and only overtime is eligible. For information regarding hazard pay, see Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG), p 23 Labor Policies and p 25 Other.

Q:  Would software and electronic equipment for video conferencing be qualified for reimbursement?
A:  No, those are not emergency protective measures and therefore not eligible for reimbursement for FEMA PA.

Q:  Are laptops that were purchased specifically so staff can work from home eligible?
A:  No, these are not eligible emergency protective measures and therefore not eligible for reimbursement for FEMA PA.

Q:  Can regular wages for employees operating EOC be eligible for the 25% match?
A:  No, wages cannot be used for the 25% match.

Q:  Do grant agreements have to be fully executed before spending can occur?
A:  Grant Agreements must be signed and returned to MSP/EMHSD before reimbursements can be processed.

Q:  What about costs for hot spots for students?
A:  No, those are not emergency protective measures and therefore not eligible for reimbursement for FEMA PA..

Q:  You stated that technology is not an eligible expense to some extent. Does that include Zoom technology that we are all using to stay in touch with everyone including our first responders?
A:  This would be considered an increased operational expense and not eligible for FEMA PA reimbursement.

Q:  Materials and construction costs to permanently retrofit our lobby area with protective glass windows at customer counters - local government office?
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these.

Q:  How about retrofit of buses owned by the district of plexiglass dividers?
A:  This would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these.

Q:  Will decontamination of townships public buildings and fire departments plus trucks be covered?
A:  Disinfection of eligible public facilities, including emergency vehicles, is an eligible expense.

Q:  Is there an additional application on the portal that needs to be submitted before we submit a project?
A:  Once an account has been created and a request for public assistance has been submitted in FEMA’s Grants Portal, you can submit a direct project application.

Q:  What about the exempt employees?  They usually do not get overtime but during this time they have been working almost 15 hours per week more. Would that count?
A:  If your approved pay policy on the date of the incident - January 20th - has you paying exempt employees overtime AND that overtime is for eligible emergency protective measures as defined by FEMA then it could be eligible.

Q:  Is it one time and done?  If we are ready to submit costs now and then if still open can we submit again if further costs arise?
A:  No, projects can be saved and finished later. Additionally, Schedule C for the Direct Project Application is for “In Progress Work Estimates.” Partial reimbursements may be requested for this disaster, and Applicants can also submit additional costs later.

Q:  To clarify the only step happening via the FEMA portal is the submission of the RPA and the project worksheets, and then the rest of the steps will be via grant agreement with MSP?
A:  It's just the grant agreement you'll get from us.  All of your project info needs to be submitted through Grants Portal. That is the federal disaster grants management system.

Q:  Can we apply for the Assistance to Firefighters grant even though we have applied for the FEMA Public Assistance grant?
A:  Applicants should not seek funding from multiple federal agencies for the same activities.

Q:  When can we expect to receive the grant agreement from MSP/EMHSD?
A:  Once FEMA reviews, approves and awards funding for an eligible project.

 

***FEMA makes the final decision on eligibility and funding***

May 6, 2020

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd

Q:  How do we receive credit for attending this meeting since it is a requirement for FEMA assistance?
A:  Please make a chat entry with your name and organization. We save the chat history, and this will serve as proof of attendance.

Q:  Would additional wages paid to part-time firefighters for station coverage, to help minimize number of first responders at 911 medical calls, be eligible?
A:  Are the firefighters mentioned above only certified in firefighting or are they also EMT/paramedics? The Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 25-26, states stand-by time is subject to the provisions of labor cost eligibility criteria, FEMA provides PA funding for costs related to stand-by time incurred in preparation for and directly related to actions necessary to save lives and protect public health and safety. To be eligible, stand-by time must be reasonable, necessary, and consistent with the Applicant’s practice in non-federally declared incidents. It must be directly related to COVID-19 emergency protective measures and the emergency medical care of COVID patients and is for overtime only unless there is a provision in the approved pay policy or contract.

Q:  Would wages and hiring of staffing for emergency food distribution be eligible?
A:  Depends on who the Applicant is requesting reimbursement. Feeding missions in response to COVID-19 to protect public health and safety are the responsibility of state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) governments. Private non-profits (PNPs) cannot be direct FEMA PA applicants for feeding missions but may be eligible to receive reimbursement for COVID-19 feeding missions if they are working with or for an SLTT governmental entity via a formal agreement. The SLTT government would then reimburse the PNP, not FEMA.

Q:  When will we receive our username and password to access Grants Portal?
A:  When FEMA approves the account and request for public assistance you should receive an automated message to change the temporary password.

Q:  Is requesting access to Grants Portal access the same as an RPA or is the RPA a separate request after access is granted?
A:  They are separate steps; however, for most state, tribal, and local governments, including school districts, Grants Portal prompts you to submit an RPA immediately after submitting your contact information to set the account. Private non-profits must be invited by the state to join, accept the request, be approved by the state, then set up their account, request public assistance and fill out the PNP questionnaire.

Q:  What is SAM.gov?
A:  The System for Award Management (SAM), SAM.gov, is an official website of the U.S. government. There is no cost to use SAM. The site is used to:

  • Register to do business with the U.S. government
  • Update or renew your entity registration
  • Check status of an entity registration
  • Search for entity registration and exclusion records

Q:  With forced labor, can you confirm that "over scheduled" regular time is eligible.  If you must staff more resources than normal to respond to the event. Is the regular pay for those over scheduled count?
A:  For emergency work, only overtime labor is eligible for budgeted employees.

Q:  The township has created an account on the Grants Portal and submitted an RPA.  Does that by definition indicate we are an eligible entity?
A:  No, the state and FEMA both review all potential applicants for eligibility.

Q:  Just to verify, only overtime may be approved for FEMA funding and if you hire or bring a seasonal employee back early, their time may be approved for FEMA funding if they are dedicated 100% to that project, correct?
A:  Yes, for emergency work, only overtime labor is eligible for budgeted employees. For unbudgeted employees performing emergency work, such as a seasonal employee working outside normal season for employment, both straight-time and overtime labor are eligible.  Costs must be directly tied to an eligible emergency action to save lives or protect public health and safety to be eligible for funding.

Q:  In regard to police officers, we separated shifts and squads and the result was having to pay employees to stay home to keep them separate and prevent cross contamination.  Would this type of regular wage be considered for reimbursement?
A:  No, FEMA considers these increased operational costs which are not eligible. For emergency work, only overtime labor is eligible for budgeted employees.

Q:  We are looking to create a permanent physical barrier at our front desk to protect our employees and create a physical barrier from the public. Will this project be eligible for reimbursement from FEMA?
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these. It is recommended to continue to document these costs should FEMA deem them eligible work in the future.

Q:  We moved a salaried employee from one division of our organization to assist in disaster response in another division. He worked substantial overtime to assist. Will that be eligible for reimbursement?
A:  This may be an eligible expense. Per the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 24, Reassigned Employees, the Applicant may assign an employee to perform work that is not part of the employee’s normal job. For example, a police officer may clear debris. FEMA provides PA funding based on the reassigned employee’s normal pay rate, not the pay level appropriate to the work, because the Applicant’s incurred cost is the employee’s normal pay rate.

Q:  We are looking to reopen one of our fire stations to house some of our full-time firefighters to keep squads separate. Would this be eligible?
A:  General operating expenses are not eligible, even when those operating costs increase because of the declared event.

Q:  When determining organization type, is a private non-profit college or university considered a public/state-controlled institution of higher education?
A:  FEMA considers a college or university a PNP providing critical services. The “Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education” type in Grants Portal is misleading. I have asked for clarification from FEMA.

Q:  For records retention, if it is based on the State's final FSR, how would we know when that is?
A:  EMHSD has a record retention schedule that is updated and provided to local programs annually.  Notification of the disaster closeout will be made to all applicants to comply with record retention requirements.

Q:  We had to modify and increase capacity on our phone system to keep our EOC in contact; would that be an "EOC-related cost?”
A:  This costs may be eligible per FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Eligible Emergency Protective Measures. The management, control and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety such as emergency operations center costs are eligible Category B, Emergency Protective Measures.

Q:  What about the wages of people working in positions required of the emergency for example, mask sterilization workers, COVID screeners etc., position we would not normally have, even if these individuals are permanent employees in different roles?
A:  These may be eligible expenses if they are for emergency protective measures to protect public health and safety in direct response to COVID-19. Per the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 24, Reassigned Employees, the Applicant may assign an employee to perform work that is not part of the employee’s normal job. For example, a police officer may clear debris. FEMA provides PA funding based on the reassigned employee’s normal pay rate, not the pay level appropriate to the work, because the Applicant’s incurred cost is the employee’s normal pay rate.

Q:  Our library is looking into contactless self-service book pick-up lockers to protect our employees and residents. Would the cost for purchasing these lockers be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA?
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these. It is recommended to continue to document these costs should FEMA deem them eligible work in the future.

Q:  What would the documentation requirements be to show that food distribution or similar activity is directly related to COVID?
A:  Please refer to the FEMA Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVIDD-19) Pandemic: Purchase and Distribution of Food Eligible for Public Assistance, for several indicators that may demonstrate the need due to purchase and distribute food in response to COVID-19 including reduced mobility of people in need due to government-imposed restrictions, including “stay-at-home” orders, which prevent certain populations from accessing food; marked increase or atypical demand for feeding resources; or disruptions to the typical food supply chain within a given jurisdiction.

Note: Measures to protect life, public health, and safety are generally the responsibility of SLTT governments. Legally responsible SLTT governments may enter into formal agreements or contract with private organizations, including PNP organizations such as food banks, to purchase and distribute food when necessary as an emergency protective measure in response to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. In these cases, PA funding is provided to the legally responsible government entity, which would then reimburse the private organization for the cost of providing these services under the agreement or contact.

Q:  What documentation should we have in place to show the "legal responsibility" to provide non-congregate care sheltering to eligible police/fire personnel under FEMA's non-congregate care sheltering pre-approval. The County is managing this mission but does not directly employee the responders that may need sheltering. The FD that does employ these individuals would not reach the $3,300 threshold unless they had to shelter their entire fire department, so they're not applying for PA. So, what does the County need to do to show these costs are being incurred under the operation of the EOC?
A:  Please call or email Matt Schnepp regarding your sheltering questions. If you are a PNP you cannot apply for PA for sheltering operations but there may be other ways to handle it.  517-256-1512 or schneppm1@michigan.gov

Q:  We are building plexiglass barriers in City Hall kind of like what you see in the grocery stores.  Will the cost to build that (being built in house) be eligible?
A:  At this time this would be considered a mid to long-term activity that FEMA considers increased operational costs which are not PA eligible. FEMA is reviewing this type of activity and may deem it eligible later. I recommend you continue to document these costs should they be deemed eligible work in the future.

Q:  I saw a question regarding a permanent physical barrier at the front of the desks, what about the "sneeze guards" which have been installed since the outbreak.  Would these be eligible costs.
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these. It is recommended to continue to document these costs should FEMA deem them eligible work in the future.

Q:  With regard to the PA management costs, is staff training/other time limited to overtime also?
A:  Straight and overtime may be eligible for the use of management costs. Please refer to the Public Assistance Management Costs Standard Operating Procedures, February 2019, for more information on PA management costs (Category Z) projects.

Q:  Will contracting with a service who sanitizes (via fogging) for their work and emergency vehicles along with the facilities be an eligible expense that can be reimbursed?
A:  Disinfection of eligible public facilities, including emergency vehicles, is an eligible expense. Make sure to comply with Federal procurement requirements when sole sourcing a contract under exigent or emergency circumstances. Please refer to the FEMA Fact Sheet: Procurement Under Grants Conducted Under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances.

Q:  Are costs of contractors who are diverted from their normal tasks to COVID response/monitoring eligible for submission?
A:  Please refer to the contract language and your approved pay policies in place at the start of the incident.  If there is a provision to include other duties to allow the performance of eligible emergency protective measures activities, they can be eligible for consideration for reimbursement through FEMA Public Assistance.

Q:  In the FEMA policy guidance, there is a section that discusses "Reassigned Employees".  It says that the Applicant may assign an employee to perform work that is not part of the employee's normal job.  It uses a police officer assigned to clear debris as an example.  The guidance continues to say the FEMA provides PA funding based on the reassigned employee's normal pay rate, which would assume that these costs are reimbursable with FEMA PA funds.  Can you clarify what is eligible if existing employees have been reassigned to another role?
A:  Yes, this may be eligible if the employee is assigned to perform eligible emergency protective measures work to protect public health and safety in direct response to COVID-19.  The position description for the individual in their daily role is needed to show that the activities being sought for consideration are truly a “reassignment” of duties and outside their regular responsibilities.

Q:  As a follow-up to my previous question, the guidance also talks about a permanent employee who is funded from an external source (grant) who is reassigned to perform eligible Emergency Work may be eligible for reimbursement if the external funding source does not cover the Emergency Work costs.  Can you verify if staff costs of a grant funded employee would be eligible for reimbursement if they were reassigned from the grant to Emergency Work, and the grant will not cover the Emergency Work costs?
A:  Yes, this may be eligible if the employee is assigned to perform eligible emergency protective measures work to protect public health and safety in direct response to COVID-19.

PM Session:

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd

Q:  Are unrecovered indirect costs based on an applicant's federal negotiated rate allowed to count toward the 25% cost share?
A:  No.  Only items that are eligible under FEMA PA are eligible for use toward the 25% cost share.  Indirect costs are not eligible for PA under category B.

Q:  Buying no touch thermometers that we need now for our essential workers should be eligible?
A:  Yes, purchase of supplies is an eligible expense as long as it is necessary to respond to COVID-19.

Q:  Well-documented national and international shortages of PPE and other supplies, with price gouging, etc. - "reasonable costs" or "historical costs" likely cannot apply here due to the unique nature of the crisis and supply chain and competitive issues.
A:  Submitted costs must be necessary and reasonable to accomplish the work properly and efficiently. FEMA’s determination of reasonable takes these factors into account. See the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 22.

Q:  Can excess management costs over the 5% cap be considered match?
A:  Management costs are limited at 5%. Match or donated resources must be considered eligible as an emergency protective measure, and excess management costs does not meet that criteria.

Q:  To purchase ATP Swab Testing Device and Monitoring System to confirm public transit vehicles are free of COVID-19 before returning to public service. Due to supply chain limitations, we request confirmed eligibility for reimbursement.
A:  FEMA makes final eligibility determinations. Disinfection of eligible public facilities, including vehicles, may be an eligible expense.

Q:  If we could find a program to help the emotional and social needs of our students and staff be covered?
A:  No, that is not an eligible cost for FEMA PA for this incident.

Q:  Should a narrative report should be included for each of the areas of cost to provide further explanation?
A:  Some areas of the direct project application may require a narrative explanation of costs. If the applicant feels additional information is warranted to explain and justify costs, the option to upload additional documentation is always available in Grants Portal.

Q:  MAX Transit intends to purchase plexiglass enclosure for customer service area. Wondering if we can coordinate a collective purchase with other FEMA eligible organizations in the Holland/Zeeland Area.
A:  An applicant can only submit reimbursement for its own expenses.  If applicants participate in a properly procurement contract for eligible items to reduce costs, that is allowed but only the actual amount paid by an applicant can be sought for reimbursement.  In general, a purchase such as this would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these. It is recommended to continue to document these costs should FEMA deem them eligible work in the future.

Q:  Will any FEMA aid received reduce any aid the City of Standish would receive in relation to reduced revenue sharing from the State of Michigan?
A:  FEMA PA is a reimbursement program and should not have any impact to revenue sharing received.

Q:  How often can drawdowns/reimbursements be made on a large project. Is it defined at a quarterly or at project completion?
A:  There is no requirement for the timing of drawdowns; however, we ask that the number of reimbursement requests be minimized and limited to quarterly if possible.

Q:  Question regarding the value of volunteer hours. I had CERT members working at both the EOC and at QA Testing Center. Has a value been determined for volunteer wage donation documentation?
A:  Please see the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 35-36 for more information on Donated Resources.  Donated resources are only eligible for consideration for eligible activities under FEMA Category B.  The offset for volunteer labor is based on the same straight-time hourly labor rate, and fringe benefits, as a similarly qualified person in the Applicant’s organization who normally performs similar work. FEMA does not offset volunteer labor based on overtime or premium rates. If the Applicant does not have employees performing similar work, FEMA credits the non-Federal share based on a rate consistent with those ordinarily performing the work in the same labor market.

***FEMA makes the final decision on eligibility and funding***

May 7, 2020

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  We have tried repeatedly and unsuccessful to set up a Grants Portal account; FEMA ‘s system blocks PNPs from registering.  May we work with MSP team to set-up grant portal account, please? 
A:  Yes, please email the State Public Assistance Officer, Tiffany Vedder at veddert@michigan.gov.

Q:  If we have submitted the request in Grants Portal yet have not received a response to date. Should we set up again?
A:  No. When FEMA approves the account and request for public assistance you should receive an automated message to change the temporary password. If you do not receive one or have questions on the status, please email the State Public Assistance Officer, Tiffany Vedder at veddert@michigan.gov.

Q:  Is the application submission in its entirety considered the "project?"
A:  There are several steps to include the creation of an account and submittal of a request for public assistance (RPA) in FEMA’s Grants Portal. Once FEMA and Recipient have approved the applicant eligibility and RPA in Grants Portal, the applicant can submit a direct project application. FEMA’s Consolidated Resource Center (CRC) will review the project application and create a project worksheet (PW).

Q:  How is a project defined? Can we have several at a time?
A:  FEMA defines project in the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, page 163, as a logical grouping of work required because of a declared major disaster or emergency. Yes, you can have several projects at one time. FEMA currently does not have a requirement for the combination or separation of projects. It is recommended that small dollar amounts be combined into one Category B project and more complex, higher dollar amounts be logically separated out.

Q:  Do we add together all our PPE, disinfection cleaners and devices for disinfecting PPE and submit it as a "project"?
A:  FEMA has no requirements on the number of direct project applications. It is suggested smaller amounts be combined into one Category B project and more complex, higher dollar amount projects be broken out into logical groupings as separate projects.

Q:  On the Grants Portal it has the process step as "pending grant completion." I wouldn't submit a completed project application until we are requesting funds, correct?
A:  You can submit a direct project application at any time before the deadline, which has not yet been determined by FEMA. Normally it is six months from the date of the disaster declaration for emergency work.

Q:  Would providing protective masks to the general public be an eligible reimbursement?
A:  No, this would not be an eligible expense.

Q:  Where are the funds coming from related to hazard pay?
A:  Hazard pay would only be considered IF there was an approved pay policy requiring hazard pay in place at the start of the incident - January 20, 2020 - and it were for eligible emergency protective measures activities.   

Q:  How will the facility be reimbursed?
A:  The State is the Recipient of the FEMA funds. The State reimburses Subrecipients upon request after reconciling costs.

Q:  We approved a lump sum hazard pay for all essential employees and followed our process in approving this. Is this reimbursable?
A:  Hazard Pay would only be considered for eligibility if it were addressed in an approved pay policy that was in place at the start of the incident, which is January 20, 2020, and only for activities considered emergency protective measures as identified by FEMA.

Q:  We are a paid-on-call fire department and do not normally staff our station. We have temporarily transitioned to a full-time fire department with firefighters working shifts at the station in response to Covid-19. Does paying firefighters to work shifts qualify for Public Assistance? We have a policy for reimbursement during declared emergencies, but it was developed after the emergency declaration, would that disqualify us?
A:  The Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, p 25-26, states stand-by time is subject to the provisions of labor cost eligibility criteria, FEMA provides PA funding for costs related to stand-by time incurred in preparation for and directly related to actions necessary to save lives and protect public health and safety. To be eligible, stand-by time must be reasonable, necessary, and consistent with the Applicant’s practice in non-federally declared incidents. It must be directly related to COVID-19 emergency protective measures and the emergency medical care of COVID patients and is for overtime only unless there is a provision in the approved pay policy or contract.  FEMA may consider a reimbursement policy created after the start of the disaster for COVID-19; however, FEMA normally requires a pre-disaster policy be in place. FEMA makes the final eligibility on eligibility and funding.

Q:  Do projects need to be complete before reimbursement can be requested? For example, cleaning/disinfecting--could we establish the project and submit for reimbursement and later submit additional costs incurred?
A:  No, projects do not need to be complete before reimbursement can be requested. Schedule C for the Direct Project Application is for “In Progress Work Estimates.” Partial reimbursements may be requested for this disaster, and Applicants can also submit additional costs later.

Q:  If the State's emergency declaration is deemed invalid, does that put our funding in jeopardy?
A:  No, the State’s emergency declaration does not affect the Presidential disaster declaration and FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program.

Q:  Would the cost associated with an online training management platform be eligible for reimbursement through this grant? We are transitioning as much training as possible to online training to maintain social distancing. Programs such as Target Solutions facilitate these online training needs for Fire Departments. There is a cost associated (per person) to use these services.
A:  All costs must be for emergency protective measures to protect public health and safety in direct response to COVID-19.  Only training specific to response activities for COVID-19 may be considered. 

Q:  We were under prepared for PPE before this started and are getting what we can. We anticipate a second/third wave of this. Can we order PPE to get Police/fire staff up to speed, and prepare for the next round?
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these. It is recommended to continue to document these costs should FEMA deem them eligible work in the future.

Q:  For police emergency schedules allowing for officers to quarantine.  We lost hours or productivity and still provided full pay. Would this loss due to COVID-19 emergency schedule be reimbursed?
A:  No, those costs would be considered loss of revenue which are not PA eligible. General operating expenses are not eligible, even when those operating costs increase because of the declared event; only those costs that are directly tied to an eligible emergency action to save lives or protect public health and safety, and above and beyond normal, budgeted operations, are eligible for funding.

Q:  We have a part-time, paid Fire Department (firefighters paid per incident response) that responds to medical emergencies.  Are costs associated with suspected Covid-19 eligible for reimbursement?
A:  Yes, costs associated with suspected COVID-19 patients is eligible for reimbursement.

Q:  Our fire chief was self-quarantined for 14 days due to not feeling well after returning from vacation.  Acting chief pay was paid with overtime for call responses.  There was no COVID-19 test done.  Is this reimbursable?
A:  These overtime costs may be eligible if the acting chief was performing eligible emergency protective measures in direct response to COVID-19. FEMA will make the final determination on eligibility. 

Q:  Are costs associated with preventative measures undertaken by jails/courts to limit the spread of COVID-19 considered emergency protective measures (example: quarantine cell blocks for new admissions)?
A:  These costs may be eligible as disinfection of eligible facilities is an eligible expense. FEMA will make the final determination on eligibility.

Q:  Are PPE and supplies ordered in preparation of a surge eligible expenses? At what point does the cost to obtain the supply for inventory become eligible? Because what happens if the surge doesn't happen? And what if we had to pay more than normal for the supplies due to the PPE shortage nationwide? There was a slide that touched on FEMA reimbursing "reasonable cost."
A:  The purchase of PPE and supplies for emergency protective measures to protect public health and safety in direct response to COVID-19 are eligible; however mid to long-term activities are being addressed by FEMA for eligibility. If costs were higher than expected FEMA may ask for documentation showing current market price for similar goods or services, such as historical documentation, average costs in the area, or published unit costs from national cost estimating databases. FEMA will consider the shortage of supplies during this unprecedented event.

Q:  For PPE purchases.  How often would you recommend that we put in a project for this?  For example, I have identified $30,000 so far.  Can we put in a project for $100,000 to anticipate our costs or must we put in projects as we go, for exact, actual costs?  Thank you.
A:  It is recommended that additional costs be added to a project no more than quarterly. Schedule C of the Direct Project Application is for “In Progress Work Estimates.”

Q:  For public meetings, we have to change Council chambers for social distancing, set up PPE kiosks, and install cameras/software to record broadcasts to minimize attendance. Will these modifications be considered for re-imbursement?
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these.

Q:  We operate a small public transit service for ours, and a neighboring community. Our main customers are seniors and those in need. We are modifying buses to safeguard both public and drivers. Will these be considered for reimbursement?
A:  In general, these activities would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the potential eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these.

PM Session:

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  How do I add agency name?  Do I need to log off and reenter?
A:  Right click on your name and you should be able to edit or you can just add your agency to your name in the chat box.

Q:  Transport of supplies, would that best be documented as a spreadsheet for mileage?
A:  Proper documentation should include the date of transport, starting location, ending location and total mileage traveled.  Also, it is recommended that you indicate what eligible supplies were being transported to clearly identify eligibility under COVID-19.  Signature verifying the mileage log is accurate is another recommendation; maybe by the fleet manager or whomever approved the transport.

Q:  How do we get added to an email list for updates and links for the slides?
A:  There is no email list. Please visit our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  Where do I go to print off the presentation slides?
A:  Please visit our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

***FEMA makes the final decision on eligibility and funding***

May 11, 2020

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  Is the construction of a front counter divide (window divider) an eligible reimbursable expense?
 A:  In general, a purchase such as this would be considered increased operational costs which are not PA eligible; however, FEMA is addressing the eligibility of mid to long-term actions such as these. It is recommended to continue to document these costs should FEMA deem them eligible work in the future.

Q:  I set up or attempted to set up a Grants Portal before the end of last month. I have not heard anything yet. Do you have any information about that?
A:  Please contact Tiffany Vedder, State Public Assistance Officer, at veddert@michigan.gov to assist you. FEMA must also review each request for public assistance, which can take some time.

Q:  Is the project cost per item or total?
A:  The project cost in most cases will be the total of Category B – Emergency Protective Measures costs.

Q:  If projects of less than $3,300 are ineligible, can we collect multiple smaller eligible costs that equal or exceed $3,300 for a project?
A:  FEMA has no requirements on the number of direct project applications. It is suggested smaller amounts be combined into one Category B project and more complex, higher dollar amount projects be broken out into logical groupings as separate projects.

Q:  If the Grants Portal account was not set up by the end of last month, will there be another opportunity to do so?
A:  There is still time to set up a Grants Portal account. FEMA has not determined a due date to submit a request public assistance. The incident period began on January 20, 2020 and is still ongoing.

Q:  Do we wait for the RPA to be approved before submitting direct project applications?
A:    Yes, you must wait until the request for public assistance is approved by FEMA and your Grants Portal account is activated to submit a direct project application.

Q:  Will you address questions previously submitted in the "Chat"?
A:  Yes, we will address all questions in the chat.

Q:  Tiffany, can you send out your contact information?
A:  Email is veddert@michigan.gov; phone is: 517-599-5333.

Q:  This may have been ready asked, but will the power point be emailed to us? I am not sure if you have my email?
A:  No, the presentation slides will not be emailed. They are posted on our website at www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  If the Grants Portal account was not set up by the end of last month, will there be another opportunity to do so?
A:  You can still set up a Grants Portal account and submit a request for public assistance.  FEMA has not determined a deadline yet.  PNPs still need to request an account invitation from the state.

Q:  I submitted a FEMA Grants Portal request or tried to open one on the 29th of last month. I have never gotten a response from FEMA.
A:  Please reach out to the Public Assistance Officer if you would like to check the status.

Q:  For clarity purposes did you say the PPE is not eligible or is it that ongoing expenses for PPE is still being determined?
A:  Eligible expenses can include purchase of consumable supplies, to include personal protective equipment and hazardous material suits.

Q:  RPA has to be approved first by the State and FEMA then project application costs are submitted?
A:  Yes, that is correct.

Q:  I completed the FEMA grants portal account registration.  I have not received notification of a username and temp password for the site.  Is this due to high volume on the site?
A:  Yes, this could be. Please reach out to the Public Assistance Officer if you would like to check the status.

Q:  For reimbursement submissions, do they each go in or is it a total and one-time submission?
A:  FEMA has no requirements on the number of direct project applications. It is suggested smaller amounts be combined into one Category B project and more complex, higher dollar amount projects be broken out into logical groupings as separate projects.

Q: Once our portal is set up and we accumulate the information we need to submit to FEMA and FEMA provides a time line are we basically at a standstill or there something more we need to do in the meantime other than be safe and stay healthy?
A:  You can begin to submit projects directly to FEMA when you are ready. The option is available.

PM Session:

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  The CARES act funding is to cover lost revenue and expenses incurred due to COVID-19.  To date, our organization has received less in COVID-19 stimulus money than what we've lost in revenue.  Are we allowed to differentiate the incurred expenses as not being funded by HSS and therefore potentially eligible for FEMA funding?
A:  Loss of revenue is not eligible for FEMA Public Assistance.

Q:  I understand loss of revenue is not eligible under FEMA assistance.  Is the cost incurred for expenses related to COVID-19 eligible for FEMA assistance?
A:  If they are emergency protective measures specific to COVID-19 they may be eligible.  Please refer to documents available at www.michigan.gov/EMHSD or reach out to the Public Assistance staff by email at  MSP-EMHSD-DisasterPA@michigan.gov.

***FEMA makes the final decision on eligibility and funding***

May 13, 2020

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  Will the new FEMA policy (FP 104-010-04) issued on Monday be addressed?
A:  The new FEMA policy on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Medical Care Costs Eligible for Public Assistance can be found online or on our web site.

Q:  Can you talk a bit about the implications on eligible expenses as it pertains to the new FEMA policy issued on 5/9/2020.  It sounded like it opens a lot of expenses for medical care that were not previously eligible
A:   Here are some of the highlights for the new FEMA policy on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Medical Care Costs Eligible for Public Assistance.

The guidance:

  • expands the definition of past admittance;
  • allows purchase of personal protective equipment by state, local, tribal or territorial governments and the distribution to public and private medical care sites treating COVID patients;
  • states that increased administrative costs are not eligible;
  • temporary and expanded medical care sites can treat anyone COVID or non-COVID;
  • mobilization and demobilization are eligible; and
  • permanent renovations to existing facilities is generally not eligible for FEMA Public Assistance.

Q:  Would additional costs of social distancing be eligible costs?  Like having crews take multiple trucks to jobsite instead of just one. Or taking vehicles home and going right to jobsite?
Q:  Q:  Would plexiglass or barriers to ensure safe distances be eligible?

A:  These would be considered increased operational costs and not FEMA PA eligible.

PM Session:

Q: Where can I find the slide presentation?
A:  The slides will be posted on our web site at: www.michigan.gov/emhsd.

Q:  Does that mean that schools are excluded if we received ESSER funds?
A:  I'm not familiar with the ESSER program. Disinfecting of schools is an eligible PA expense. Applicants should not seek funding from multiple federal agencies for the same activities.

Q:  Was this recorded or can we access this presentation at a later date?
A:  No, the webinar will not be recorded. You can access the slides on our website at www.michigan.gov/emhsd

 

***FEMA makes the final decision on eligibility and funding***