Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and other disasters up to December 31, 2010, FEMA disbursed more than $8 billion in assistance payments, some of which were later determined to have been improperly paid to individuals who were ineligible or who received duplicate payments. The debts in question arose in part because FEMA relaxed its internal controls in order to provide expedited delivery of assistance grants to displaced disaster survivors. The relaxed internal controls involved potential payments of $621.6 million to 167,488 recipients. After reviewing all of the cases, FEMA reduced that original estimate and determined that 91,178 recipients, who received more than $371 million, were candidates for recoupment. According to FEMA, there is sufficient justification to waive the debt obligations and not to recoup payment from the other 76,310 recipients, who collectively received more than $250 million in disaster assistance.
FEMA’s Efforts To Recoup Improper Payments in Accordance With the Disaster Assistance Recoupment Fairness Act of 2011 (4)