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FEMA

  • FEMA Did Not Sufficiently Safeguard Use of Transportation Assistance Funds

    Executive Summary

    FEMA did not take sufficient actions to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse of transportation assistance funds for vehicles considered damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in FY 2017.  These weakness occurred because FEMA does not require that agencies collect and retain documentation used to establish applicant eligibility; consider pre-disaster vehicle market value when determining award amounts; provide guidance to state, territorial and tribal governments on how to set transportation assistance thresholds; and conduct post-payment reviews to ensure funds are spent appropriately.  We made three recommendations that, when implemented, will help FEMA ensure it is spending Federal funds for transportation assistance properly.  FEMA concurred with one recommendation and non-concurred with two recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-66
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • The State of Washington's Oversight of FEMA's Public Assistance Grant Program for Fiscal Years 2015-2017 Was Generally Effective

    Executive Summary

    In two of the four areas – training and collaboration – Washington’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and FEMA complied with applicable policies, procedures, and regulations.  In the third functional area – project execution, monitoring and oversight – we did not identify any significant deficiencies.  We found, however, EMD lacked position-specific guidance for all personnel with programmatic responsibilities.  In the last functional area – project and grant closeout – neither EMD nor its subrecipients submitted timely project closeout requests.  In addition, FEMA did not enforce compliance with its own guidance for processing closeouts.  We recommended FEMA ensure EMD complies with its State Administrative Plan by issuing and regularly updating desk manuals.  In addition, we recommended FEMA coordinate with EMD to initiate closeout on behalf of subrecipients for all open, large projects whose period of performance end dates exceed the 90-day regulatory requirement, and submit closeout requests to FEMA for projects exceeding the 180-day requirement.  We made five recommendations to strengthen EMD’s internal controls to improve its oversight of FEMA’s Public Assistance grant program.  FEMA concurred with all five of our recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-64
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • FEMA Should Disallow $1.1 Million in Grant Funds Awarded to Richland County, North Dakota

    Executive Summary

    Richland County did not always properly account for and expend Federal funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines.  FEMA did not hold North Dakota accountable for fulfilling its grant management responsibilities, and North Dakota did not adequately manage the FEMA grant by monitoring the County to ensure it complied with applicable regulations and guidelines.  The County failed to follow all Federal procurement regulations when awarding about $1.9 million in disaster-related contracts.  We recommended that FEMA disallow $1,146,921 in ineligible contract costs and direct North Dakota to work with the County to verify that the County complies with all Federal grant requirements and establishes effective accounting systems.  FEMA concurred with our three recommendations for improving County compliance in managing future Federal grants. 

    Report Number
    OIG-19-63
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Evaluation of DHS' Information Security Program for Fiscal Year 2018

    Executive Summary

    DHS’ information security program was effective for fiscal year 2018 because the Department earned the targeted maturity rating, “Managed and Measurable” (Level 4) in four of five functions, as compared to last year’s lower overall rating, “Consistently Implemented” (Level 3). We attributed DHS’ progress to improvements in information security risk, configuration management practices, continuous monitoring, and more effective security training. By addressing the remaining deficiencies, DHS can further improve its security program ensuring its systems adequately protect the critical and sensitive data they store and process.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-60
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • FEMA Must Take Additional Steps to Demonstrate the Importance of Fraud Prevention and Awareness in FEMA Disaster Assistance Programs

    Executive Summary

    FEMA has instituted several effective mechanisms to demonstrate the importance of fraud prevention in its disaster assistance programs, but it needs to do more.  In line with our 2011 audit report recommendations, FEMA now uses standard system queries and additional business rules to flag potentially fraudulent disaster assistance applications.  However, FEMA must take additional, proactive steps to create and sustain a culture of fraud prevention and awareness.  This includes adequately staffing the Fraud and Internal Investigations Division, implementing an effective process to monitor and discourage staff noncompliance with required fraud training requirements, and establishing a clear and consistent process for reporting suspected fraud.  We made five recommendations for FEMA to demonstrate its commitment to fraud prevention in carrying out its disaster assistance programs.  FEMA concurred with all of our recommendations and has begun implementing corrective actions.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-55
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Louisiana Did Not Properly Oversee a $706.6 Million Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Award for Work on Louisiana Homes

    Executive Summary

    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not properly oversee the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (Louisiana or State) to ensure it complied with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines.  Louisiana and the Office of Community Development (OCD), in turn, did not always properly account for and expend Federal grant funds.  Specifically, Louisiana did not provide adequate documentation to support costs, as required by Federal regulations, and FEMA is not requiring the State to provide mandatory documentation to close out the $706.6 million Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) grant.  Louisiana also has not provided FEMA with required documentation showing that homeowners paid $79.7 million in promissory notes for state-funded mitigation work on their homes.  Finally, Louisiana drew down funds exceeding project obligations by $50.4 million due to a lack of FEMA controls.  These issues arose primarily because FEMA did not ensure Louisiana exercised proper oversight of the HMGP grant and the State did not comply with Federal regulations.  As a result, Federal funds are at risk of fraud, waste, and abuse.  We provided five recommendations to FEMA to postpone project closeout until Louisiana provides adequate documentation that supports $706.6 million in costs and that FEMA ensures compliance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines.  FEMA’s responses were sufficient to close all but one recommendation, which we consider open and unresolved.  

    Report Number
    OIG-19-54
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Department of Homeland Security's FY 2018 Compliance with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 and Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments

    Executive Summary

    The Department of Homeland Security did not comply with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (IPERA) because the Department did not meet two of the six requirements. Specifically, the Department omitted the percent of recaptured amounts from the Other Information section in its Agency Financial Report and did not meet its annual reduction target established for one of eight programs deemed susceptible to significant improper payments.The Department also did not comply with Executive Order 13520, Reducing Improper Payments, because DHS did not make available to the public its Quarterly High-Dollar Overpayment report for the second quarter of fiscal year 2018.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-43
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Additional Controls Needed to Better Manage FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program

    Executive Summary

    This interim report is part of an ongoing audit to determine the extent FEMA is meeting disaster survivors’ transitional shelter needs after the California wildfires and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. We determined that FEMA does not require disaster survivors to notify the agency when they vacate hotels participating in the TSA program, thus allowing the hotels to continue to bill FEMA for unoccupied rooms. Because FEMA is unaware when disaster survivors vacate the hotels, the agency does not know the magnitude of unnecessary hotel charges. Consequently, FEMA could not account for associated TSA payments it may have paid since August 2017, related to the 2017 hurricane season and California wildfires.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-37
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Missouri's Management of State Homeland Security Program and Urban Areas Security Initiative Grants Awarded During Fiscal Years 2012 through 2015

    Executive Summary

    Williams, Adley and Company - DC, LLP completed an audit of Missouri’s management of State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grants awarded during fiscal years (FY) 2012 through 2015. Williams Adley concluded that Missouri’s State Administrative Agency generally complied with applicable Federal laws and regulations. Although Williams Adley did not identify any duplicate benefits received by the state, it did identify instances in which the state did not fully comply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) FYs 2012–2015 Notice of Funding Opportunity guidance.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-36
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Management Alert - FEMA Did Not Safeguard Disaster Survivors' Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (REDACTED)

    Executive Summary

    Through the TSA program, FEMA provides transitional sheltering in hotels to disaster survivors displaced by emergencies or major disasters. TSA reduces the number of survivors in congregate emergency shelters by providing hotel lodging. During our ongoing audit of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, we determined that FEMA violated the Privacy Act of 19741 and Department of Homeland Security policy2 by releasing to the PII and SPII of 2.3 million survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017.3

    Report Number
    OIG-19-32
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
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