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As of February 9, 2020, there are 4958 open recommendations, of which 422 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the process for disaster declarations, the FEMA Administrator should develop and implement a methodology that provides a more comprehensive assessment of a jurisdiction's capability to respond to and recover from a disaster without federal assistance. This should include one or more measures of a jurisdiction's fiscal capacity, such as TTR, and consideration of the jurisdiction's response and recovery capabilities. If FEMA continues to use the PA per capita indicator to assist in identifying a jurisdiction's capabilities to respond to and recover from a disaster, it should adjust the indicator to accurately reflect the annual changes in the U.S. economy since 1986, when the current indicator was first adopted for use. In addition, implementing the adjustment by raising the indicator in steps over several years would give jurisdictions more time to plan for and adjust to the change.
Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: On January 20, 2016, FEMA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit comments on an option FEMA is considering to establish a disaster deductible, which would require a predetermined level of financial or other commitment from a recipient, generally the state or territorial government, before FEMA would provide assistance under the Public Assistance Program. According to FEMA, the agency received 150 responses during the 60-day public comment period, which ended on March 21, 2016, and used this input to develop a plan for further engagement on a more detailed proposal for public comment. The Supplemental Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published on January 12, 2017, provided another opportunity for stakeholder input prior to any changes to the Public Assistance program. This proposal included an explanation of how deductible amounts might be calculated, identified specific credits that states could apply for, and detailed how the deductible would be applied post-declaration. According to FEMA officials, the comments received, in part, raised concerns about the complexity of the proposed deductible model. FEMA agreed with the concerns raised that the proposal was too complicated, and in August 2018, told us that it is no longer pursuing that option. However, FEMA is considering options that leverage similar approaches but does not have an estimated completion date for implementation. On October 5, 2018, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA), was signed into law. DRRA (section 1239) directs the FEMA Administrator to initiate a rulemaking to update the factors considered when evaluating a request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance, specifically the estimated cost of assistance (i.e. the per capita indicator). FEMA is working to implement this provision pursuant to the law, and this effort represents one of the top priorities of the agency; however, the estimated completion date is still "to be determined." Until FEMA implements a new methodology, FEMA will not have an accurate assessment of a jurisdiction's capabilities to respond to and recover from a disaster without federal assistance and runs the risk of recommending that the President award Public Assistance to jurisdictions that have the capability to respond and recover on their own.