Eligible Costs for COVID-19 Federal Disaster Declaration

Under the COVID-19 Major Disaster Declaration, emergency protective measures (response costs) including, but not limited to, the following, may be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA or other federal agencies.

This webpage includes information about eligible costs for reimbursement by FEMA's Major Disaster Declaration for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, DR-4496, related to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

For all other information about the disaster declaration including declaration information, applicant briefings, information about the public assistance process, FEMA grants portal, procurement, webinars, training resources, FAQ, contact information and more, see the COVID-19 Federal Disaster Declaration webpage.

It is important that applicants track their costs for the duration of the response to be ready to submit for reimbursement once the crisis has passed. Costs will be evaluated at that time and routed to the appropriate federal agency for reimbursement.

Table of Contents

Public Assistance Eligible Work Summary

Category Work

Consolidated Period of Eligibility

From January 20, 2020 -

July 1, 2022

Medical Care Clinical Care for COVID patients Eligible
Medical Care Vaccination Eligible
Medical Care Contact Tracing Disease & Research NOT Eligible
Opening & Operating Personal Protective Equipment Eligible
Opening & Operating Cleaning & Disinfection Eligible
Opening & Operating Screening incl. Testing & Temperature Checks Eligible
Opening & Operating Physical Barriers Eligible
Opening & Operating Virtual Operations NOT Eligible
Mass Care Non Congregate Sheltering Eligible - State Authorization Ended 7/30/2021
Mass Care Emergency Feeding Eligible - State Authorization Ended 7/26/2021

Due to new guidance released from FEMA at the direction of the White House, Opening and Operating activities going back all the way to the beginning of the pandemic are now eligible for for reimbursement through FEMA Public Assistance.

The following activities are eligible for FEMA PA starting from January 20, 2020: medical care such as clinical care for COVID patients, vaccination operations, and alternate care sites, as well as testing sites. Certain opening and operating activities are also eligible to include purchase of personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfection of facilities, screening and temperature checks, as well as the purchase and installation of physical barriers. Mass Care activities are also eligible to include non congregate sheltering and emergency feeding subject to state executive orders allowing for the activity.

The following activities are NOT eligible for FEMA Public Assistance, regardless of when the activity took place: contact tracing and virtual working operations.

See below sections for more details on different types of eligible costs.

New Guidance: Safe Opening & Operation Work Eligible for Public Assistance

New FEMA guidance has been issued to allow funding to Public Assistance applicants for the safe opening and operation of eligible facilities. Past guidance only allowed for certain costs (see Type of Costs below) to be reimbursable to entities with the legal responsibility to perform “Emergency Work”, i.e. government/hospitals, etc. performing emergency medical care, testing, etc.

Current guidance allows all eligible PA applicants to seek reimbursement on certain costs as outlined below, to re-open and operate safely in a COVID-19 environment. The costs below are eligible for 100% reimbursement for work performed between January 20, 2020 - July 1, 2022.

  • Purchase and Distribution of PPE to individuals entering facilities
  • Cleaning and disinfection of facilities
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Screening and temperature scanning
  • Acquisition and installation of temporary physical barriers
  • Signage to support social distancing

Additional Resources

Types of Eligible Costs

  • Force Account Labor (Permanent, Part-time, Seasonal, Re-assigned, Disaster Hires, Backfill Employees)
    • Overtime costs only for regularly budgeted staff
  • Force Account Equipment and Leased Equipment
  • Material (Purchased supplies and/or taken from stock)
  • Contract Services
  • Mutual Aid - mutual aid agreement must reference compensation

Management, control and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety:

  • Emergency Operation Center costs
  • Training specific to the declared event. This may include PPE training, medical shelter operations, etc.
  • Disinfection of eligible public facilities
  • Technical assistance to local governments or eligible PNPs on emergency management and control of immediate threats to public health and safety

Medical care:

Primary Medical Care Facilities

  • Emergency and inpatient clinical care for COVID-19 patients, including, but not limited to emergency medical transport, triage and medically necessary tests and diagnosis, necessary medical treatment, prescription costs.
  • Purchase, lease and delivery of specialized medical equipment
  • Purchase and delivery of PPE, durable medical equipment and consumable medical supplies
  • Medical waste disposal
  • Certain labor costs associated with medical staff providing treatment to COVID-19 patients

Temporary and Expanded Medical Facilities (used to treat COVID-19 patients, non-COVID-19 patients, or both)

  • All eligible items and stipulations for Primary Medical Care Facilities
  • Lease, purchase, construction or alteration costs as reasonable and necessary to provide medical care services
  • Mobilization and demobilization costs with setting up and closing the temporary or expanded medical facility
  • Operating costs including equipment, supplies, staffing, wraparound services and clinical care not covered by another funding source
  • Maintenance of a temporary or expanded medical facility in an operationally read but unused status available for surge capacity for COVID-19 readiness and response
  • Administrative activities and associated costs necessary for the provision of essential medical services at temporary and expanded medical facilities and Alternate Care Sites (see FEMA ACS Warm Sites Fact Sheet for information on eligible costs to maintain a minimum operational lever of an ACS warm site).

Additional Resources

Medical sheltering:

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

  • All sheltering must be conducted in accordance with standards and/or guidance approved by HHS/CDC and must be implemented in a manner that incorporates social distancing measures
  • For non‐congregate medical sheltering see detailed section below.

Purchase and distribution of food, water, ice, medicine, and other consumable supplies:

Purchase and distribution of food, water, ice, medicine, and other consumable supplies, to include personal protective equipment and hazardous material suits (refer to FEMA: COVID-19: Purchase and Distribution of Food Eligible for Public Assistance).

  • Feeding: FEMA approved implementation of Emergency Feeding through July 26, 2021. The approval includes food and prepared meals for individuals who are high-risk (people over 65 or have certain underlying health conditions) who are quarantined or are self-isolated and unable to obtain and/or prepare meals independently; and individuals who do not have the resources to prepare or obtain meals, facing food insecurity and have not signed up for, or are not eligible for public nutrition programs, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) Food and Nutrition Service (“FNS”) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), or Nutrition Programs.  All efforts will be made to register those assisted into these more traditional nutrition assistance programs, thereby, further stabilizing the situation and ensuring FEMA eligibility.  Communities with questions about emergency feeding reimbursement can reach out to MEMA using this form: Submit Question to the MEMA Recovery Team.
  • PPE:Under FEMA’s Safe Opening and Operating Guidance, all PPE distributed to staff and other individuals in an eligible facility is eligible for reimbursement.

Additional Resources

Non-Congregate Medical Sheltering:

FEMA has issued approval of non-congregate sheltering for the state and local governments for the individuals meeting the following criteria:

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19, or are symptomatic for COVID-19, as documented by a medical professional, who do not require hospitalization, but need isolation (including those exiting from hospitals) and cannot do so safely in their current living situation without causing undue risk to themselves or others.
  • Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 (as documented by a state or local public health official, or medical health professional) that do not require hospitalization but need quarantine and cannot do so safely in their current living situation without causing undue risk to themselves or others.
  • First-responders, medical workers, nursing facility workers, and 24/7 congregate care workers, and other personnel working with high-risk individuals, who, through their missions, can reasonably expect to be exposed to COVID-19 and may, therefore, be asymptomatic carriers, but who continue to work and cannot safely live at home without posing a risk to their families.
  • First-responders, medical workers, nursing facility workers, and 24/7 congregate care workers who work with high-risk individuals, including children, youth and adults with disabilities and who can reasonably expect to be exposed to COVID-19 by moving to and from work within the Community or by living at home and therefore cannot safely live at home without posing a significant risk to “high-risk” population that they care for.
  • Individuals who are asymptomatic, but are at high-risk, such as people over 65 or who have certain underlying health conditions (respiratory, compromised immune systems, chronic disease), and who require quarantine as a social distancing measure and cannot do so safely in their current living situation without causing undue risk to themselves or others.
  • If you have a question about sheltering other populations, please click the link below to submit a question.

Program Guidance

  • FEMA approval is limited to emergency non-congregate sheltering costs that are reasonable and necessary to address the public health needs resulting from FEMA-4496-DR-MA.
  • FEMA approval is limited to costs associated with sheltering individuals. Non-congregate medical sheltering was authorized through July 30, 2021.
  • FEMA approval is limited to costs associated with the provision and operation of emergency non-congregate shelters and does not include the approval of costs for the conversion of the proposed or any other facility for emergency medical care. Minor repairs or upgrades to existing facilities are fine, anything beyond that please click the link below and ask a question.
  • The state and local governments must follow FEMA’s Procurement Under Grants Conducted Under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances guidance and include a termination for convenience clause in its contracts for sheltering and related services, such as food, security services, and care for those with disabilities or access and functional needs.
  • FEMA will not approve Public Assistance funding that duplicates funding by another federal agency, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • State and local governments must comply with, and enable FEMA to comply with, applicable environmental and historic preservation laws, regulations, and executive orders or funding may be jeopardized.

The Applicant must maintain tracking mechanisms to provide sufficient data and documentation to establish the eligibility of costs for which it is requesting Public Assistance funding (including the need for non-congregate sheltering of each individual, length of stay, and costs). As with any activity, lack of sufficient support documentation may result in FEMA determining that some or all of the costs are ineligible. If you have any questions click here.

Additional Resources

Vaccine Distribution

Vaccination activities performed between January 21, 2021 to September 30, 2021 are eligible for 100% reimbursement under the FEMA Public Assistance Program, For details, see: Vaccine Cost Reimbursement.

Other costs

  • Household pet sheltering and containment actions related to household pets in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Movement of supplies and persons
  • Security and law enforcement
  • Communications of general health and safety information to the public
  • Search and rescue to locate and recover members of the population requiring assistance

Additional Resources

Contact   for Eligible Costs for COVID-19 Federal Disaster Declaration

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