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OIG: Office of Inspector General
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Disaster Recovery Efforts

In 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 was signed into law, providing more than $2.7 billion to assist K–12 schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education in meeting the educational needs of students affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires. This disaster assistance looks to help schools, school districts, colleges, universities, and other institutions return to their full capabilities as quickly and effectively as possible.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) plays a critical role in the Federal disaster recovery process. We are tasked with auditing U.S. Department of Education (ED) grantee spending of disaster recovery funds, examining the effectiveness of recovery programs, and investigating misuse, theft, and other criminal activity involving these funds. Congress provided $4 million to the OIG to carry out these oversight activities over the next several years. In addition, in June 2019, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 was signed into law, providing the OIG with an additional $2 million to carry out oversight activities related to the 2018 disasters.

Our work involving disaster recovery funds is underway. OIG staff have met with impacted State and territorial educational agencies, governments, and law enforcement officials to stress the importance of establishing strong accountability and oversight controls to protect ED disaster recovery funds from fraud, waste, and abuse. State and territorial schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education (which are the grantees and subgrantees receiving Federal funds) have a critical role in the process; they need to establish good internal controls to help ensure that they use these funds appropriately, as required by law. The OIG’s role is equally important; making sure that disaster recovery grantees and subgrantees design effective controls, spend the funds timely and for allowable purposes (including providing them only to eligible recipients), and achieve the intended results.

Click on Audit and Related Reports for more information on our current and completed work; OIG Investigations for press releases and other information on the OIG’s disaster recovery investigative efforts; Resources and Other Information for OIG presentations, brochures, posters, flyers, and other helpful tips for identifying, preventing, and reporting disaster recovery fraud; and News and Photos from OIG staff on the ground in disaster recovery States and territories.

Additional Links and Information:

○    Listen to our two podcast episodes about the OIG’s audit and investigations work in support of disaster recovery:
        Podcast Episode 3 (listen, read the transcript) and Episode 4 in Spanish (listen, read the transcript)

○    For information on disaster recovery funding and assistance available through ED:
        https://www.ed.gov/hurricane-2017.

○    ED FAQ - Restart Program:
        https://www2.ed.gov/programs/restart/faq.html.

○    ED FAQ – Emergency Impact Act Program:
        https://www2.ed.gov/programs/eia/faq.html.

○    ED FAQs - Assistance for Homeless Children and Youth Program:
        https://www2.ed.gov/programs/ahy/faq.html.

○    ED FAQ - Emergency Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education:
        https://www2.ed.gov/programs/eai/faq.html.

○    ED FAQ: Defraying Costs of Enrolling Displaced Students in Higher Education Program:
        https://www2.ed.gov/programs/dceds/faq.html.

Audit and Related Reports

The OIG will conduct a series of audits involving disaster recovery funds over the next several years. Our initial audit work is underway (see table below). Check back here regularly for copies of our completed audit work and information on new assignments. In the meantime, please see our FY 2019 Annual Plan for information on disaster recovery work planned for fiscal year 2019. You can also peruse the OIG’s previous disaster recovery and other special funding work completed in response to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the 2006 Hurricane Education Recovery Act, known as HERA.


Audit
Assignment

Objective

State/
Territory

Completed

Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations (Restart) Program/
Internal Controls

The objective is to determine whether selected grantees have effectively designed internal controls for the administration of Restart program funds.

Virgin Islands Department of Education
(PDF - 1.42M)

Puerto Rico Department of Education
(PDF - 3.62M)

06/04/2019

 

07/17/2019

Restart Program

The objectives are to determine whether selected State educational agencies established and implemented systems of internal control that (1) provided reasonable assurance that Restart funds were appropriately allocated and (2) ensured that local educational agencies and nonpublic schools used Restart funds for allowable and intended purposes.

Texas Education Agency

Audit Underway

Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students (Emergency Impact Aid) Program

The objectives are to determine whether selected State educational agencies established and implemented systems of internal control that ensured that (1) displaced student count data provided to ED were accurate and complete, (2) Emergency Impact Aid funds were appropriately allocated to local educational agencies, and (3) local educational agencies used Emergency Impact Aid funds in accordance with applicable Federal requirements.

Texas Education Agency

Audit Underway

OIG Investigations

OIG criminal investigators are working with the OIG’s audit staff, local officials, and our law enforcement partners to stop those who seek to line their own pockets with disaster recovery funds. If you know of or suspect fraud or other wrongdoing involving disaster recovery funds, let us know!

Not sure what the signs of fraud or how to report it? We can help! Click on this link to learn more: OIG Hotline. Also check out Resources and Other Information for free posters and other information and help us protect disaster recovery funds from fraud, waste, abuse, or other criminal activity.

Check back here regularly: we’ll post press releases and other information on OIG investigations as they become available.

Resources and Other Information

The OIG offers free materials and resources to disaster recovery grantees and subgrantees on identifying and preventing fraud, as well as information for everyday people who would like to help protect disaster recovery funds from fraud, waste, abuse, or other criminal activity. Be sure to visit this page regularly, as we look to update it with new materials.

     Free Posters

News

2018: Disasters and recovery efforts provide unique temptations for corrupt individuals who seek to line their own pockets with disaster recovery funds. That’s why OIG staff are on the ground in places like Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, working with our law enforcement partners to thwart disaster recovery crooks, profiteers, and bad actors. In June, we toured impacted schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands and shared our experience investigating theft, fraud, and other criminal activity involving recovery-related funds.



   
Last Modified: 09/09/2019