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FEMA Appeals Assistance Process Could Improve, GAO Says

FEMA is only processing 9 percent of first-level assistance appeals and 11 percent of second-level assistance appeals within the statutory 90-day timeframe, according to a GAO report.

The report found that FEMA’s data is often inaccurate and incomplete because regional offices do not consistently track first-level appeals and FEMA does not have processes to ensure data quality. When these weaknesses were first raised, FEMA officials acknowledged them and provided corrected data, but GAO still found fluctuations year-on-year.

Although FEMA has made efforts to address the issues, the agency is still facing workforce challenges and hasn’t developed a plan to identify hiring, training and retention needs across its headquarters.

The report makes four recommendations, which include designing procedures for a uniform approach to appeals that integrates regional trackers with PAAB’s own appeals tracker. It also recommends implementing controls to ensure the quality of the first-level data that is collected, and developing a detailed workforce plan for hiring, training and retention. Finally, GAO recommends establishing goals with all 10 regional offices to monitor performance and report on progress.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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