Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — On Thursday, December 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed legislation introduced by Congressman Webster - the Preventing Disaster Revictimization Act, to ensure innocent disaster victims won’t have their assistance clawed back by the federal government when it makes an error. The bill passed the House on December 8thas part of the National Defense Authorization Act and will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.
“Florida is no stranger to the devastating effects of hurricanes and natural disasters,” said Rep. Webster. “Federal aid is crucial for many victims’ ability to recover and rebuild in the wake of disaster. FEMA should be focused on helping victims recover, not putting them on the hook for errors made by the government. This commonsense bill will help protect victims and bring further accountability to FEMA.”
Originally introduced in the House of Representatives with Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) the Preventing Disaster Revictimization Act stops the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from taking back disaster assistance funds that it mistakenly awarded to victims who applied for assistance in good faith and utilized that money to help rebuild their lives. The bill requires FEMA to waive the debt of disaster relief recipients in cases where the agency later determined it mistakenly granted assistance, but no fraud was committed.  Under current law, FEMA can come back weeks, months, or even years later to seek repayment of funds it awarded victims, even when the agency is at fault for making the error and the funds were appropriately used in the wake of a disaster. FEMA is also required to reports Congress on its efforts to minimize similar errors in the future.