FEMA gave out $3.7 billion in ‘potentially fraudulent’ payments through COVID-19 aid program: IG report

The Federal Emergency Management Agency distributed more than $3.7 billion in improper and potentially fraudulent payments through an aid program for state workforce agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found.

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari found that FEMA “did not implement controls to prevent” the billions of dollars in improper payments from the agency’s Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.

FEMA implemented the $44 billion program in August 2020 to ease the economic burden for people who lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the program, which was active for six weeks, 53 state workforce agencies offered funds from the program to their residents.

Cuffari’s office found during an audit that 21 state workforce agencies (SWAs) had distributed more than $3.3 billion in “potentially fraudulent payments,” $21.6 million in overpayments, and $403 million in payments made without obtaining claimants’ required self-certifications of eligibility for the program. – READ MORE