FEMA Sends Out Debt Notices To Recoup Money Given After Katrina
The Federal Emergency Management Agency mailed out 83,000 debt notices this year to victims of Hurricane Katrina and other 2005 storms. FEMA wants all federal aid recipients to pay back those funds.
Many other Gulf Coast hurricane victims are angry about having to repay money they spent years ago to rebuild their lives.
FEMA is seeking to recover more than $385 million. They say was much of the money was improperly paid to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
The debts, which average about $4,622 per recipient, represent slightly less than 5 percent of the roughly $8 billion that FEMA distributed after the storms. At least some of the overpayments were due to FEMA employees’ own mistakes, ranging from clerical errors to failing to interview applicants, according to congressional testimony.
But the agency says it is required by law to make an effort to recover improper payments, even if the recipient wasn’t at fault. Last week, however, Congress approved legislation that would allow FEMA to waive many of the debts. President Barack Obama signed the measure — part of a $1 trillion spending package — into law last Friday.
FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said the agency is reviewing the law’s provisions and developing a plan to implement them. It remains to be seen how many recipients of FEMA money could benefit from the change.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat who sponsored the provision, said disaster victims shouldn’t be punished because FEMA was “dysfunctional.” Source
Well, at least the government appears to be acting responsible about the ‘dysfunctionality’ of FEMA. For those whom applied under false pretenses, this seems like the right thing to do as wanting repayment. However, punishing those is legitimate need, is far fetched and down despicable.