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FEMA develops plan to waive repayment of improper disaster assistance

WASHINGTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed a plan to waive recoupment of improper disaster assistance payments that were disbursed due to government error, according to U.S. Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Next week, FEMA will send letters to 90,000 affected individuals and households informing them they may be eligible for a waiver. These individuals and households must then respond to FEMA within 60 days to request a waiver and certify that they meet the criteria, including need, household income and appropriate use of funds.

Landrieu included a provision, authored by Pryor, in the year-end federal spending bill  that allows the FEMA Administrator to waive a debt owed to the federal government if the individual earns less than $90,000 and was given assistance due to FEMA error.  Previously, FEMA did not have the authority to waive any overpayment debt. This provision prohibits the administrator from waiving any debt that involves fraud. It was based on the Disaster Assistance Recoupment Fairness Act (DARFA), which was authored by Pryor and co-sponsored by Landrieu and Cochran.

Cochran said, “I appreciate FEMA acting expeditiously to determine how to waive some debts in cases where the federal government erroneously distributed funds during the most severe disasters.  The 2005 hurricane season was unprecedented in terms of the damage and chaos it caused along the Gulf Coast, but its magnitude also overwhelmed our government’s systems for distributing aid.  It simply doesn’t make sense for the government to come knocking on the doors of struggling American families, sometimes more than six years after it mistakenly provided aid, and demand the assistance be repaid.”

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One comment

  1. Farmer in the Dell

    When is the Govt going to require the Gulf Coast sniveling weenies to stand on their own two feet? Anyone living on the Gulf Coast that claims they were surprised by a hurricane ought to be sent to Whitfield Forgive individuals making almost $50.00 per hour ($90,000 per year) for an honest over payment that they received more than 6 ago from many of us making less than $20.00 per hour? They should be thanking the non Gulf coast residents for an interest free 6 year loan that were not entitled to initially and damned sure have no reason to expect that should not be repaid because it was honest mistake; they should profit from this?
    First it was the insurance companies fault who insisted that the actual terms of the policy be followed, then establish a wind pool so everyone in the state helps pay for your policy because you choose to live in a hurricane prone area, then clear all the debris for me, build me a house or at least a FEMA trailer (that I will later sue you for because it wasn’t nearly good enough me). Plus unemployment, health care from breathing FEMA trailer fumes. The rest of us are tired of Sen Cochran and the Governor giving away everything in sight to you because of a life choice you freely made. The King of Pork is back riding high in the saddle again-using taxpayer money to buy taxpayer votes. Well done Senators.

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