Important National call on FEMA Recoupment Waiver Process Wednesday, February 29, 2012, at 4pm ET

FEMA Logo
Important National call on FEMA Recoupment Waiver Process. FEMA has set up new procedures for waivers of FEMA overpayments.

On Wednesday, February 29, 2012, at 4pm Eastern Time, LSC will host a National Disaster Network call during which representatives of FEMA will discuss FEMA’s implementation of waiver of debts pursuant to the Disaster Assistance Recoupment Fairness Act (DARFA).

Call-in information
Dial-in Number: (866) 4514981
Conference code: 9328090043

Background
In 2007, litigation was filed against FEMA alleging that it did not provide sufficient procedural due process to disaster applicants identified for recoupment. As a result of litigation, FEMA suspended its recoupment process.

In 2008, FEMA withdrew previous recoupment notifications sent to survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and later disasters, and redesigned its recoupment and debt collection processes.

Four years after the litigation was filed, FEMA commenced a revised recoupment process for the collection of Individual Assistance (IA) overpayments.

From March 2011 through December 2011, FEMA mailed nearly 90,000 Notices of Debt and considered thousands of appeals and requests for payment plans and compromise.

Members of Congress were concerned about the fairness of FEMA collecting overpayments where the overpayment was the result of FEMA error and where a significant amount of time had elapsed before FEMA provided actual notice to the debtors. As a result of these concerns, Congress passed, and the President signed, the DARFA of 2011 (section 565 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-74).

DARFA provides the Administrator of FEMA with the authority to waive a debt arising from improper payments provided for disasters declared between August 28, 2005, and December 31, 2010 if the payment was based on FEMA error; there was no fault by the debtor; collection of the debt is against equity and good conscience; and the debt does not involve fraud, a false claim or misrepresentation by the debtor.

In the next few weeks, FEMA will send Notice of Waiver letters to the persons covered by DARFA and provide them 60 days from the date the Notice was sent to apply for a waiver of their debt.
On the February 29th National Disaster Network call, representatives of FEMA’s General Counsel Office (Including Brad J. Kieserman, Chief Counsel and Sandy Lubin, Attorney-Advisor) will explain DARFA, discuss how FEMA will implement it and take your questions.

This will be an excellent opportunity to learn about the recoupment process and how waivers will be implemented, pose specific questions to FEMA staff and make important contact with FEMA that will benefit your clients.

If you plan to attend please email Lou Castro at castrol@lsc.gov

The call will last up to 90 minutes, depending on questions.

Information on the FEMA Recoupment Waiver Process Information can be found at:
http://www.fema.gov/debtwaiver/

John Eidleman
Senior Program Counsel
Office of Program Performance
202-295-1640
eidlemaj@lsc.gov