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FEMA still handing out Katrina cash inappropriately

A Congressional investigation found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid out an estimated $1 billion inappropriately after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but to date have recovered less than one percent of the amount.

Government Accountability Office investigators testified at a hearing Wednesday that in addition, FEMA is still sending out tens of millions of dollars in in appropriate — payments through its Individuals and Households Program, which provides rental assistance to people displaced due to natural disasters.

“These payments include $17 million in rental assistance paid to individuals to whom FEMA had already provided free housing through trailers or apartments,” GAO managing director Greg Kutz testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. In addition, “FEMA made nearly $20 million in duplicate payments to thousands of individuals who claimed damages to the same property from both hurricanes Katrina and Rita. FEMA also made millions in potentially improper and/or fraudulent payments to nonqualified aliens who were not eligible for IHP.”

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