President Joe Biden has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to increase the reimbursement rate for eligible COVID-related expenses incurred by state, local, tribal and territorial partners from 75% to 100%.

The change is retroactive to January 2020 and extends through Sept. 30, 2021.

The president’s directive also expands the eligible categories to include vaccine distribution expenses. Further guidance on other expanded eligibility is expected soon from FEMA.

No action is necessary for previously approved projects, as FEMA will automatically adjust the awards to reflect the new rate. Municipalities who have submitted claims since January 2020 can expect the 25% share to be automatically credited to them.

Many communities used the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the CARES Act to cover the 25% difference between what FEMA covered and the full cost of a pandemic-related eligible expense. In these cases, the returned funds for prior claims will be available for other Coronavirus Relief Fund-defined purposes.

The Executive Office for Administration and Finance has issued supplemental guidance to explain the changes.

The federal changes resulted from a Jan. 20 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 and a related Memorandum on Maximizing Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued on Feb. 2.

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