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How the Government Shutdown Affects SAFER grants

The IAFF Grants Administration department is receiving many questions relating to the Federal Government shutdown and the impact on FEMA grants, specifically the SAFER grants which keep IAFF members on the job.  Those departments that have already received awards will receive the total appropriated grant funds, but the question remains as to how timely they will receive those funds.  FEMA’s SAFER and AFG Equipment and Training offices are considered non-essential, therefore administrative staff that monitor progress reports and approve drawdowns have been furloughed.  While the government remains closed, no payments or disbursements will be made. 

Depending on how long the shutdown is in place will determine how backlogged FEMA staff is and how quickly they are able to get grant funding flowing again.  Additionally, there will be delays issuing new FY13 SAFER awards and opening the applications for the FY13 Training and Equipment and FY13 Fire Prevention awards.  While FEMA will not have staff available to answer questions, the IAFF Grants Administration office is available to answer any questions and can be reached at 202-824-1575 or grants@iaff.org.

Some key points from FEMA follow:

Will the lapse affect my grant?

• Grantees will not be able to draw down funds for Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER), Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG), or Fire Prevention and Safety grants because these rely on manual processes that will not be staffed during a lapse in appropriations.

• FEMA will not announce FY13 AFG or SAFER awards during the lapse in appropriations and reimbursement for SAFER invitational travelers will be delayed.

• Grant-funded projects for which funding has been awarded, obligated, and released by FEMA will not be affected by the lapse of FY14 appropriations and work can continue unimpeded.

• Grantees will be able to draw down funds from the Response, Recovery, Mitigation, National Preparedness and Grant Programs Directorate-managed grants through the Payment and Reporting System (PARS) and Smart-link systems if all reporting submissions are up to date and holds on funding are released.

• The disaster declaration and request process will remain unchanged. Grantees will be able to draw down grant funds from disaster declarations through requests to the National Emergency Management Information System (NEMIS) system if all reporting submissions are up to date and holds on funding are released.

• Manual (paper) requests for grant reimbursements will not be processed during the lapse.

Do we still need to submit grant reports?

• Grantees are advised to make sure that all Semi-Annual Performance Reports and Federal Financial Status Reports (SF-425) are submitted prior to close of business on Monday, October 30, 2013, so that they are current on their reporting requirements. Delinquent reports can and will result in system-based holds and grantees will be unable to draw funds out of PARS if they remain delinquent.

What if I have questions or need help with my grant?

• Unfortunately, no FEMA grant staff will be available to answer grantee questions during a lapse in FY14 appropriations; however, we will work closely with grantees who have questions once the lapse has ended.

• FEMA’s grant help desks will not be staffed, including the Centralized Information and Scheduling Desk (ASKCSID), Grant Award and Administration Control Desk, and Assistance to Firefighters Grants Help Desk.

• During the lapse, FEMA grant staff will not be able to address rejected payment requests or problems related to holds, missing reports, or to reset passwords for grants processed through the PARS and Smart-link systems.

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