FEMA challenges remain despite progress
Since the events of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, the GAO reports that in Dec. 2014, the agency was successful in their control over potentially fraudulent payments in relation to individuals impacted by the latter. They also reported that as of July of this year, areas affected by Hurricane Sandy were able to leverage federal programs that facilitated resilience in recovery efforts including public assistance.
Despite this, there are still areas for improvement within the agency. GAO states that there are weaknesses in the validation systems of social security numbers and there is a lack of a comprehensive approach to the implementation and prioritization of investments into emergency preparedness efforts. For these and other gaps, the GAO offered recommendations that include implementing a plan to limit administrative costs for major disasters.
Between 2004 and 2013, disaster assistance provided by FEMA amounted to approximately $95 billion over a reported 650 events.
Another area that the GAO found to need improvement relates to the management of the agency’s divisions.
FEMA has agreed to take action in order correct issues found within the GAO report.