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June 08, 2011

FEMA Extends Recoupment Claims Process

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate notified Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, that FEMA will extend its disaster assistance recoupment appeals process deadline.

FEMA agreed to take the extraordinary step of extending the recoupment appeals process deadline after receiving a letter from Thompson (link here). As a result of Thompson's advocacy, FEMA will allow additional time to file appeals for about 5,000 individuals and families who have been notified by FEMA that they must make repayments of disaster assistance received many years ago. Congressman Thompson noted that the recoupment process should be fair and transparent but must also take into account the current disaster circumstances affecting these same areas. FEMA agreed.

As a result, the appeal deadline for recoupment process appeals will be extended for two additional months for individuals who reside in an area that has been recently impacted by a disaster.

Additionally, at Thompson's urging, FEMA agreed to delay sending new letters seeking repayment of non-fraudulent disaster assistance overpayments. These new recoupment request letters will seek repayment of excess assistance paid to individuals who filed claims related to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. FEMA's agreement to postpone sending this group of letters is also based on the reality that current disaster declarations cover many of the same counties covered by Katrina, Rita, and Wilma disaster declarations.

Ranking Member Thompson released the following statement:

We asked and FEMA listened. As those of us begin our efforts to return to normalcy following this year's tornadoes and floods, we need to concentrate our efforts on recovering today and rebuilding our future. We recognize FEMA's right and duty to recoup these overpayments, however, at this time people should not need to worry about repayment of overpayments received 5 years ago. I want to thank Administrator Fugate for granting this request and look forward to continuing our work together.

FEMA LETTER

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978