Federal FEMA Match Waived for COVID Crisis

President Biden issued a new executive memo that waives the 25% non-federal share for FEMA Category B public assistance related to the COVID national emergency – fulfilling a major priority for state and local governments.

The announcement today includes specific retroactive eligibility from January 20, 2020 (start of the Stafford Act declarations for COVID) through January 20, 2021.  This has been a major ask of NACo and the “Big 7” state and local government advocacy partners for many months – and thank you all for your partnership and assistance with our collective efforts.

From a “fact sheet” released by the White House:

Central to the Biden-Harris Administration’s COVID-19 National Strategy is ensuring states, Tribes, territories, and jurisdictions have the resources they need to defeat the virus. That’s why, in his second day in office, President Biden directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fully reimburse states for the cost of National Guard Personnel and emergency costs. Today, President Biden is announcing that the administration will go even further, retroactively reimbursing states fully for FEMA-eligible services – including masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk populations, and mobilization of the National Guard – back dated to the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020. This reimbursement is estimated to total $3-5 billion and is only a small share of the resources that states need to fight this pandemic — including for testing, genomic sequencing, and mass vaccination centers. To fully support states, Tribes, and territories’ needs to contain the pandemic and vaccinate their populations, President Biden is requesting $350 billion from Congress in American Rescue Plan.

Below are two recent presidential memos that deal with the FEMA costs share and the FEMA eligibility criteria:

Memorandum on Maximizing Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Feb. 2, 2021)


 Memorandum to Extend Federal Support to Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States (Jan. 21, 2021)


Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties