A home wrecked by flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2008.
Thousands of Americans devastated by natural disasters in the last few years are being asked to return a total of more than $22 million in federal relief money accidentally given to them by FEMA. The organization is required by law to retrieve the funds, but many recipients are unable to pay.
This latest blunder is not good for the federal agency that single-handedly botched the response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans under the supervision of the Bush administration and then-director Michael D. Brown. It’s also fuel for the political fire into which congressional Republicans and conservative Democrats hope to toss Medicaid and other social welfare programs. —ARK
AP via Google:
The agency is asking Van Fleet and thousands of other Americans who were victims of natural disasters to return more than $22 million in government aid, acknowledging it mistakenly made payments to many people who were ineligible.
FEMA is required by law to recover improperly spent money, but most of the people who were helped say they used the cash years ago, and they don’t want to be financially punished because of the agency’s errors.
... Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that FEMA is seeking payments from more than 5,500 people who were affected by 129 separate disasters since 2005, including floods, tornados, hurricanes and other calamities from Arkansas to American Samoa. The agency is still reviewing records, and more repayment requests could go out soon, including to victims of Hurricane Katrina.